The Main Library serves as the hub of the entire Library system as well as the “neighborhood library” for thousands of downtown workers and residents. With one of the finest collections of materials among public libraries in the U.S., the Main Library attracts more than one million users annually. In addition to the standard amenities, the Main Library featurues a large Genealogy and Local History department with archives on local gems like Rookwood Pottery and the Cincinnati Reds, public computer access in the Tech Center, a Children's Learning Center, Special Collections like the Artists' Book Collection and Cincinnati Opera Archives, two outdoor gardens, a gift shop, and meeting rooms.

While the structure has changed, the Main Library has been a fixture in downtown Cincinnati since 1874. The South Building of the current structure located at Eigth and Vine Streets dates to 1955 and was designed by noted Cincinnati architect Woodie Garber. In 1982 an addition expanded it's size to fill the entire city block. In 1997 a dramatic four story bridge opened which links the original South Building to the newly constructed North Building overtop Ninth Street.

In 2013, the Cincinnati Public Libary received the IMLS National Medal for Museum and Library Service. In addition to the Main Library downtown, the library systems offers 40 branches throughout the county. Hours vary by location.

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