Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County
The Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County (PLCH) is among the largest and busiest public library
Public library
A public library is a library that is accessible by the public and is generally funded from public sources and operated by civil servants. There are five fundamental characteristics shared by public libraries...

 systems in the world. In addition to its Main Library location in downtown Cincinnati, Ohio, PLCH operates 41 regional and branch locations throughout Hamilton County
Hamilton County, Ohio
As of 2000, there were 845,303 people, 346,790 households, and 212,582 families residing in the county. The population density was 2,075 people per square mile . There were 373,393 housing units at an average density of 917 per square mile...


, the PLCH's collection holds 9,154,039 volumes, making it the 9th largest library in the US.
In 2008, PLCH had an annual circulation of 15,627,452 items. The downtown location alone circulates over four million items annually, the most of any single library location in the country. Hennen's American Public Library Ratings
Public library ratings
There are several national systems for rating the quality of public libraries.-United States:The basic public library statistics are published by the National Center for Educational Statistics; the most recent version was published in July 2006, using data from fiscal year 2005...

2008 places PLCH tenth among libraries that serve populations of over 500,000. PLCH's various locations had 5,661,940 visitors in 2008.


Among PLCH's collections are books, audiobooks, downloadable digital audio
Digital audio
Digital audio is sound reproduction using pulse-code modulation and digital signals. Digital audio systems include analog-to-digital conversion , digital-to-analog conversion , digital storage, processing and transmission components...

 and e-book
An electronic book is a book-length publication in digital form, consisting of text, images, or both, and produced on, published through, and readable on computers or other electronic devices. Sometimes the equivalent of a conventional printed book, e-books can also be born digital...

s, magazines, newspapers, CDs, videos, DVDs, CD-ROM
A CD-ROM is a pre-pressed compact disc that contains data accessible to, but not writable by, a computer for data storage and music playback. The 1985 “Yellow Book” standard developed by Sony and Philips adapted the format to hold any form of binary data....

s, sheet music
Sheet music
Sheet music is a hand-written or printed form of music notation that uses modern musical symbols; like its analogs—books, pamphlets, etc.—the medium of sheet music typically is paper , although the access to musical notation in recent years includes also presentation on computer screens...

, slides, microfilm, microfiche, and Braille
The Braille system is a method that is widely used by blind people to read and write, and was the first digital form of writing.Braille was devised in 1825 by Louis Braille, a blind Frenchman. Each Braille character, or cell, is made up of six dot positions, arranged in a rectangle containing two...

. It also offers free Internet and free Wi-Fi
Wi-Fi or Wifi, is a mechanism for wirelessly connecting electronic devices. A device enabled with Wi-Fi, such as a personal computer, video game console, smartphone, or digital audio player, can connect to the Internet via a wireless network access point. An access point has a range of about 20...

, in addition to over 15,500 free programs each year for patrons of all ages, from toddlers to seniors. In 2005, its staff answered 1.7 million reference questions by phone, fax, e-mail, post, and in person. The Main Branch is a selective federal depository library
Federal depository library
The Federal Depository Library Program is a United States program created to make U.S. federal government publications available to the public at no cost. As of June 2008, there are 1,252 depository libraries in the United States and its territories. A "government publication" is defined in the U.S...


The library's website provides access to the library catalog
Library catalog
A library catalog is a register of all bibliographic items found in a library or group of libraries, such as a network of libraries at several locations...

, the KnowItNow24x7 online chat reference service, nearly 150 commercial research databases, bestseller
A bestseller is a book that is identified as extremely popular by its inclusion on lists of currently top selling titles that are based on publishing industry and book trade figures and published by newspapers, magazines, or bookstore chains. Some lists are broken down into classifications and...

 lists, staff reading recommendations, and other information resources.

Special needs services provided by PLCH include "talking books" and Braille to the visually impaired, blind, and physically handicapped in 33 Ohio counties; its outreach services include books-by-mail, foreign language materials and bilingual programs, and passport application; its literacy services include GED classes and GED practice testing.

PLCH holds one of the largest genealogical collections in the United States. Online postings include Cincinnati and Norwood, Ohio
Norwood, Ohio
Norwood is the second most populous city in Hamilton County, Ohio, United States. The city is an enclave of the larger city of Cincinnati. The population was 21,675 at the 2000 census. Originally settled as an early suburb of Cincinnati in the wooded countryside north of the city, the area is...

 city directories, Sanborn maps
Sanborn Maps
Sanborn Maps is an American publisher of historical and current maps of U.S. cities and towns that were initially created to estimate fire insurance liabilities. The company's maps are frequently used for preservation and restoration efforts....

, and yearbooks as well as books relating to local history.


PLCH traces its roots to a subscription library
Subscription library
A subscription library is a library that is financed by private funds either from membership fees or endowments...

 that began in 1802. On March 14, 1853, it became the Cincinnati Public Library. Since its founding, the library has occupied several locations, including its current location at Eighth Street and Vine Street.

For many years, the library used the Computerized Information Network for Cincinnati and Hamilton County (CINCH) as a system-wide library catalog which connected each branch through a large number of computer terminal
Computer terminal
A computer terminal is an electronic or electromechanical hardware device that is used for entering data into, and displaying data from, a computer or a computing system...

s. Users at home were permitted to access the database via TELNET
Telnet is a network protocol used on the Internet or local area networks to provide a bidirectional interactive text-oriented communications facility using a virtual terminal connection...

. In 2005, this system was replaced with an integrated library system
Integrated library system
An integrated library system , also known as a library management system ,is an enterprise resource planning system for a library, used to track items owned, orders made, bills paid, and patrons who have borrowed....

 (ILS) purchased from library automation vendor Sirsi, now SirsiDynix.

Beginning in 2001, budget cuts from the State of Ohio drastically reduced funding for PLCH. In July 2002, the Board of Trustees voted to close branch locations in Deer Park, Elmwood Place, Greenhills and Mount Healthy. The board later backed off on the branch closing plan after a strong negative response from citizens in the affected neighborhoods.

In 2005, the library received the American Library Association
American Library Association
The American Library Association is a non-profit organization based in the United States that promotes libraries and library education internationally. It is the oldest and largest library association in the world, with more than 62,000 members....

's John Cotton Dana
John Cotton Dana
John Cotton Dana was an American librarian and museum director whose main objective was to make the library relevant to the daily lives of the citizens and to promote the benefits of reading...

 Public Relations Award.

In 2005, a state budget plan that cut spending on libraries a further five percent was passed in the Ohio House of Representatives
Ohio House of Representatives
The Ohio House of Representatives is the lower house of the Ohio General Assembly, the state legislature of the U.S. state of Ohio; the other house of the bicameral legislature being the Ohio Senate....

, after being proposed by Ohio governor Bob Taft
Bob Taft
Robert Alphonso "Bob" Taft II is an Ohio Republican Party politician. He was elected to two terms of office as the 67th Governor of the U.S. state of Ohio between 1999-2007. After leaving office, Taft started working for the University of Dayton beginning August 15, 2007.-Personal background:Taft...

. The budget prompted the library to distribute flyers and hold rallies in Downtown Cincinnati, calling on the state to repeal the proposed cuts. The cuts resulted in a periodic hiring freeze, reductions in hours, branch and department closings, and the layoff of approximately forty librarians. Librarians responded by voting to join the Service Employees International Union
Service Employees International Union
Service Employees International Union is a labor union representing about 1.8 million workers in over 100 occupations in the United States , and Canada...

 (SEIU) Local 1199 in 2006.

After nine months of contentious negotiations over a union contract, the parties (SEIU and the library administration) resorted to a hearing in front of a third-party neutral negotiator, who drew up a labor contract. Librarians voted 45–1 to approve the contract. The library's Board of Trustees subsequently voted the contract down by a 7–0 vote, citing concerns over 'fair share' proposals built into the contract. After further negotiations between SEIU and attorneys for the library, the Board approved a union contract that did not include fair share. See the Agency shop
Agency shop
An agency shop is a form of union security agreement where the employer may hire union or non-union workers, and employees need not join the union in order to remain employed. However, the non-union worker must pay a fee to cover collective bargaining costs...

 article for clarification.

In 2007, the library began implementing a dramatic reorganization plan, known as ML/21 (Main Library for the 21st Century), that will lead to the creation of a Technology Center, Teen Center, a Popular Library, and a Local History and Genealogy
Genealogy is the study of families and the tracing of their lineages and history. Genealogists use oral traditions, historical records, genetic analysis, and other records to obtain information about a family and to demonstrate kinship and pedigrees of its members...

 Department. The plan also calls for the disbanding of subject departments in Art & Music, Literature & Languages, History and Genealogy, Rare Books and Special Collections, Science & Technology, Government and Business, Education & Religion, Fiction & Young Adults, and Films and Recordings. The latter two departments will comprise the new Popular Library. The History and Genealogy Department will be merged with Rare Books and Special Collections to create the aforementioned Local History and Genealogy department. The other subject departments will comprise the Information and Reference department. Approximately 24 professional positions (those holding a Master of Library and Information Science
Master of Library and Information Science
The Master of Library and Information Science is the master's degree that is required for most professional librarian positions in the United States and Canada. The MLIS is a relatively recent degree; an older and still common degree designation for librarians to acquire is the Master of Library...

) are slated for elimination through attrition and reassignment.

In July 2007, the library agreed to join with Kirtas Technologies, Inc. to digitize rare books and make them available via, Inc. is a multinational electronic commerce company headquartered in Seattle, Washington, United States. It is the world's largest online retailer. Amazon has separate websites for the following countries: United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Japan, and...

. The plan costs the library nothing and allows it to retain full control what is digitized. Profits from sales of the digitized books are to be shared with the library. Other institutions involved in the plan include the University of Maine
University of Maine
The University of Maine is a public research university located in Orono, Maine, United States. The university was established in 1865 as a land grant college and is referred to as the flagship university of the University of Maine System...

, Emory University
Emory University
Emory University is a private research university in metropolitan Atlanta, located in the Druid Hills section of unincorporated DeKalb County, Georgia, United States. The university was founded as Emory College in 1836 in Oxford, Georgia by a small group of Methodists and was named in honor of...

 in Atlanta, and the Toronto Public Library
Toronto Public Library
Toronto Public Library is a public library system based in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. It is the largest public library system in Canada and in 2008, had averaged a higher...

 in Ontario. Digitized material, including books, maps, yearbooks, and city directories, are available via the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County's Virtual Library.


Fourteen individuals have served as Directors of the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County:
  1. John D. Caldwell (1855–1857)
  2. N. Peabody Poor (1857–1866)
  3. Lewis Freeman (1866–1869)
  4. William Frederick Poole
    William Frederick Poole
    William Frederick Poole was an American bibliographer and librarian.-Biography:He graduated from Yale University in 1849, where he assisted John Edmands, who was a student at the Brothers in Unity Library...

  5. Thomas Vickers (1874–1879)
  6. Chester W. Merrill (1880–1886)
  7. Albert W. Whelpley (1886–1900)
  8. Nathaniel D.C. Hodges (1900–1924)
  9. Chalmers Hadley (1924–1945)
  10. Carl Vitz (1946–1955)
  11. Ernest I. Miller (1955–1971)
  12. James R. Hunt (1971–1991)
  13. Robert D. Stonestreet (1991–1998)
  14. Kimber L. Fender (1999–present)

List of branches

PLCH currently has 40 branch locations, in addition to the Main Library downtown:
  • Anderson
    Anderson Township, Hamilton County, Ohio
    Anderson Township is one of the twelve townships of Hamilton County, Ohio, United States. Located in the southeastern part of the county and less than 15 minutes from downtown, the township has been named one of the Cincinnati area's most desirable neighborhoods to live...

  • Avondale Branch*
  • Blue Ash
    Blue Ash, Ohio
    Blue Ash is a city in Hamilton County, Ohio, United States, and an inner suburb of Cincinnati, which is located just to the south. The population was 12,513 at the 2000 census.-Geography:Blue Ash is located at ....

     Branch (formerly the Sycamore Branch)
  • Bond Hill
    Bond Hill, Ohio
    Founded as a railroad suburb and temperance community in 1871 in northeastern Millcreek Township in Hamilton County, Ohio, Bond Hill is currently a neighborhood of the City of Cincinnati. It is one of a number of neighborhoods lining the Mill Creek, an urban stream in southwestern Ohio. Bond Hill...

  • Cheviot
    Cheviot, Ohio
    Cheviot is a city located in west central Hamilton County, Ohio. The population was 9,015 at the 2000 census.- History :In 1814 a Scottish immigrant named John Craig purchased a half section of of Green Township from Elias Boudinot. He built an inn and tavern on the Harrison Pike. In 1818 Craig...

  • Clifton
    Clifton, Cincinnati, Ohio
    Clifton, incorporated as a village in 1850, is now a neighborhood in the north central part of Cincinnati, Ohio, United States. The area includes the Ludlow Avenue Shopping and Dining District. Clifton is situated around Clifton Avenue, north of Dixmyth Avenue, approximately three miles north of...

  • College Hill Branch (formerly the Northern Hills Branch)
  • Corryville
    Corryville, Cincinnati, Ohio
    Corryville is a neighborhood in Cincinnati, Ohio, east of the University of Cincinnati, south-east of Clifton, south and west of Avondale, north-west of Walnut Hills, and north of Mount Auburn...

     Branch* (formerly the North Cincinnati Branch)
  • Covedale
    Covedale, Ohio
    Covedale is a former village in Hamilton County, Ohio, United States. The main area of the village was annexed by the city of Cincinnati and is now a neighborhood of about 15,000 people in the western part of the city...

  • Deer Park
    Deer Park, Ohio
    Deer Park is a city in Hamilton County, Ohio, United States. The population was 5,736 at the 2010 census.-Geography:Deer Park is located at ....

  • Delhi Township
    Delhi Township, Hamilton County, Ohio
    Delhi Township is one of the twelve townships of Hamilton County, Ohio, United States. The 2000 census found 30,104 people in the township.-Geography:Located in the southwestern part of the county along the Ohio River, it has the following borders:...

  • Elmwood Place
    Elmwood Place, Ohio
    Elmwood Place is a village in Hamilton County, Ohio, United States. The population was 2,681 at the 2000 census. Except for a small portion which touches neighboring St...

  • Forest Park
    Forest Park, Ohio
    As of the census of 2000, there were 19,463 people, 7,505 households, and 5,238 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,990.4 people per square mile . There were 7,748 housing units at an average density of 1,190.4 per square mile...

     Branch (formerly the Parkdale Branch)
  • Green Township
    Green Township, Hamilton County, Ohio
    Green Township is one of the twelve townships of Hamilton County, Ohio, United States. The 2000 census found 55,660 people in the township.-Geography:Located in the west central part of the county, it borders the following townships and city:...

  • Greenhills
    Greenhills, Ohio
    Greenhills is a village in Hamilton County, Ohio, United States. The population was 4,103 at the 2000 census. It is a planned community that was established by the United States federal government during the Great Depression.-Geography:...

  • Groesbeck
    Groesbeck, Ohio
    Groesbeck is a census-designated place in Hamilton County, Ohio, United States. The population was 7,202 at the 2000 census.-Geography:Groesbeck is located at ....

  • Harrison
    Harrison, Ohio
    Harrison is a city in Hamilton County, Ohio, United States. The city is located in the Cincinnati-Northern Kentucky metropolitan area. The population was 7,487 as of the 2000 census.-History:...

  • Hyde Park
    Hyde Park, Ohio
    Hyde Park is a neighborhood on the east side of Cincinnati, Ohio. In 1998, the average home sales price was $248,512.Hyde Park is an eclectic neighborhood in eastern Cincinnati...

  • Loveland
    Loveland, Ohio
    Loveland is a city in Hamilton, Clermont, and Warren counties in the southwestern part of the U.S. state of Ohio. Considered part of the Greater Cincinnati area, Loveland is located near exit 52 off Interstate 275, about northeast of the Cincinnati city limits. It borders Symmes, Miami and...

  • Madeira
    Madeira, Ohio
    Madeira is a city in Hamilton County, Ohio, United States. The population was 8,923 at the 2000 census. Madeira has a Council-Manager form of government, where the elected City Council appoints a paid City Manager to run the day to day operations of the city. Madeira is served by its own Police...

     Branch (formerly the Madeira–Indian Hill
    Indian Hill, Ohio
    The Village of Indian Hill is a city in Hamilton County, Ohio, United States, and an affluent suburb of the Greater Cincinnati area. The population was 5,907 at the 2000 census. Prior to 1970, Indian Hill was incorporated as a village, but under Ohio law became designated as a city once its...

     Regional Branch)
  • Madisonville Branch
  • Mariemont
    Mariemont, Ohio
    Mariemont is a planned community village in Hamilton County, Ohio, United States. It includes one or two historic districts, Village of Mariemont and Mariemont Historic District. Founded in the 1920s by Mary Emery, Mariemont exhibits English architecture from Norman to classic Georgian style...

  • Miami Township
    Miami Township, Hamilton County, Ohio
    Miami Township is one of the twelve townships of Hamilton County, Ohio, United States. The 2000 census found 13,496 people in the township, 9,093 of whom lived in the unincorporated portions of the township.-Geography:...

     Branch (originally the Cleves Branch)
  • Monfort Heights
    Monfort Heights, Ohio
    Monfort Heights, Ohio is a community in Green Township, Hamilton County, Ohio, part of the Cincinnati – Northern Kentucky metropolitan area.The community "runs along North Bend Road with its heart at the intersection of West Fork and North Bend Roads."...

     Branch (formerly the West Fork Branch)
  • Mt. Healthy
    Mount Healthy, Ohio
    Mount Healthy is a city in Hamilton County, Ohio, United States, in the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky metropolitan area. The population was 7,149 at the 2000 census.-Geography:Mount Healthy is located at ....

  • Mt. Washington Branch
  • North Central Branch
  • Northside
    Northside, Cincinnati
    Northside is a neighborhood in Cincinnati, Ohio. It was originally known as Cumminsville, but changed names to "Northside" several decades ago after I-74 divided the neighborhood into Northside and South Cumminsville...

     Branch* (formerly the Cumminsville Branch)
  • Norwood
    Norwood, Ohio
    Norwood is the second most populous city in Hamilton County, Ohio, United States. The city is an enclave of the larger city of Cincinnati. The population was 21,675 at the 2000 census. Originally settled as an early suburb of Cincinnati in the wooded countryside north of the city, the area is...

  • Oakley
    Oakley, Ohio
    Oakley is a middle-class neighborhood in Cincinnati, Ohio that borders Pleasant Ridge, Madisonville, and Hyde Park. Oakley's business district, called Oakley Square, lies along Madison Road. Oakley is a primary thoroughfare and a major crosstown artery in Cincinnati.In addition to Oakley Square,...

  • Pleasant Ridge
    Pleasant Ridge, Cincinnati
    Pleasant Ridge is a mostly gaslight residential neighborhood in Cincinnati, Ohio with a small business district occupied largely by long-standing, independent businesses...

  • Price Hill
    Price Hill, Cincinnati
    Price Hill is a neighborhood of Cincinnati, Ohio, located north of Sedamsville and Riverside, south of Westwood and South Fairmount, and west of Queensgate. It is one of the oldest outlying settlements of Cincinnati, and includes parts of the zip codes 45205, 45238, and 45204.-Geography:Price Hill...

  • Reading
    Reading, Ohio
    Reading is a city in Hamilton County, Ohio, United States. The population was 11,292 at the 2000 census. It is a suburb of Cincinnati. Reading is also the Home of 2003 Division 3 State Boys Basketball Champions...

     Branch (formerly the Valley Branch)
  • St. Bernard
    St. Bernard, Ohio
    St. Bernard is a small city in Hamilton County, Ohio, United States. The population was 4,924 at the 2000 census.-Geography:St. Bernard is located at , and along with Norwood and Elmwood Place, is an enclave surrounded by the city of Cincinnati.According to the United States Census Bureau, the...

  • Sharonville
    Sharonville, Ohio
    Sharonville is a city in Butler and Hamilton counties in the U.S. state of Ohio. The population was 13,804 at the 2000 census.-Geography:Sharonville is located at .It is part of the Cincinnati metropolitan area....

  • Symmes Township
    Symmes Township, Hamilton County, Ohio
    Symmes Township is one of the twelve townships of Hamilton County, Ohio, United States. The 2000 census found 14,771 people in the township.-Geography:...

     Regional Branch
  • Walnut Hills
    Walnut Hills, Ohio
    Walnut Hills may refer to:*Walnut Hills, Cincinnati, Ohio*Walnut Hills, Dayton, Ohio...

  • West End
    West End, Cincinnati, Ohio
    West End is a neighborhood in Cincinnati, Ohio, located north-west of downtown, east of Queensgate, west of Over-the-Rhine, and south-east of Fairview....

     Branch (formerly the Lincoln Park Branch)
  • Westwood
    Westwood, Ohio
    Westwood is an urban-suburban neighborhood of Cincinnati, Ohio.Westwood is Cincinnati's largest neighborhood, and the population of 35,730 makes it the most populous within Hamilton County . It is located north of Price Hill, west of Fairmount, and southwest of Mount Airy.- Prehistory :Traces of...

  • Wyoming
    Wyoming, Ohio
    Wyoming is a city in Hamilton County, Ohio, United States. The population was 8,261 at the 2000 census.Wyoming has a renowned education program - the Wyoming City School District was ranked first in the State of Ohio on the 2004-2005 State Report Card, with an index score of 108.2...

     Branch (formerly the Bonham Branch)

Locations marked with asterisks were originally built as Carnegie libraries
Carnegie library
A Carnegie library is a library built with money donated by Scottish-American businessman and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie. 2,509 Carnegie libraries were built between 1883 and 1929, including some belonging to public and university library systems...


External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.