Cleveland Public Library, located in Cleveland, Ohio operates the Main Library on Superior Avenue in downtown Cleveland, 27 branches throughout the city, a mobile library, a Public Administration Library in City Hall, and the Ohio Library for the Blind and Physically Disabled. The library replaced the State Library of Ohio as the location for the Ohio Center for the Book in 2003.
Front entrance to the Cleveland Public Library's central location on Superior Avenue
|Location||325 & 525 Superior Avenue Cleveland, Ohio 44114|
|Access and use|
|Director||Felton Thomas, Jr. (2009)|
In 1811, the idea behind the Cleveland Public Library came "out of small beginnings" when sixteen of Cleveland's sixty-four residents subscribed to its first library, established to distribute the rare printed book. The members read books such as the history of Rome, Lives of the English Poets, Goldsmith's Greece, and Don Quixote. 
In 1867, the Cleveland, Cincinnati, and Dayton Boards of Education petitioned the Ohio General Assembly for authority to levy a tax for the maintenance of free public libraries, permitting boards of education with populations over 20,000 to levy a tax of one-tenth of a mill for each dollar evaluation of their taxable property. Cleveland Superintendent, the Reverend Anson Smyth, who has been doubtfully called the "father of the Cleveland Public Library," supported this law in his Superintendent position, helping in the laws' development. 
The new law provided for a Cleveland library that was part of the school system, controlled by the Cleveland Board of Education throughout the first decade of the library's existence, except for the years 1871-1873. 
The Cleveland Public Library opened on February 17, 1869 on the third floor of the Northup and Harrington Block on West Superior Avenue, The library room was adjacent to the Cleveland Board of Education, and opened with approximately 5,800 books. 
Luther Melville Oviatt was the first librarian at Cleveland Public Library from 1869 to 1875. During his first year, patrons borrowed 65,000 books. Forwarding thinking in his views, Oviatt wanted to provide books that would interest both children and adults, the mechanic, businessman, and scholar. He had open shelves because, "without a catalog, the only way potential borrowers could ascertain what books were available was to look at them." Oviatt resigned in June, 1875, the victim of governing boards or their subsidiaries, who micromanaged daily operations of the library. 
In 1915, the Cleveland architectural firm of Walker and Weeks won a competition to design a new library building. Construction of their classical Renaissance design, delayed by the First World War, began in 1923 under Linda Anne Eastman. Eastman (1867–1963) was the first woman to head a major U.S. city library system and a pioneer in the modern library system. She opened bookshelves to patrons, replacing the New York Public Library system in which a librarian fetched the books.
The Main Library consists of two buildings. The older wing, completed on May 6, 1925 and renovated between 1997 and 1999, has five stories, each as high as two stories in most buildings. The renovations included the restoration of a large mural painted by Ora Coltman in 1934 for the Federal Arts Project. The work was done by the Intermuseum Conservation Association. The second building, named after former U.S. Congressman Louis Stokes, was dedicated on April 12, 1997. Stokes commented, "This is the most beautiful that I have ever seen." The $65 million structure of fritted glass panels and Georgia marble housed eight million items and two million titles on its grand opening.  The two buildings are connected by underground corridor below the Eastman Reading Garden, which was designed by landscape architecture firm OLIN, and includes sculptures by Maya Lin and Tom Otterness.
The Main Library's special collections include the Mears and Murdock baseball collections, the Cleveland Theater collection, the John G. White chess and checkers collection, a 130,000-volume children's collection, a 74,000-volume rare book collection, and collection of 1.3 million photographs.
The Cleveland Public Library has 27 neighborhood branches located throughout the city in addition to the Ohio Library for the Blind and Physically Disabled:
- Addison Branch
- Brooklyn Branch
- Carnegie-West Branch - the biggest neighborhood branch at 25,000 square feet (2,300 m2)
- Collinwood Branch
- East 131st Street Branch
- Eastman Branch
- Fleet Branch
- Fulton Branch
- Garden Valley Branch
- Glenville Branch
- Harvard-Lee Branch
- Hough Branch
- Jefferson Branch
- Langston Hughes Branch
- Lorain Branch
- Martin Luther King, Jr. Branch
- Memorial-Nottingham Branch - also the location of the Library for the Blind and Physically Disabled
- Mount Pleasant Branch
- Public Administration Library
- Rice Branch
- Rockport Branch
- South Branch
- South Brooklyn Branch
- Sterling Branch
- Union Branch
- Walz Branch
- West Park Branch
- Woodland Branch
In 2002, the Cleveland Public Library had annual attendance of 804,692 and an annual circulation of 1,698,928 items. In 2016, the library's collection totaled 10,557,336 items. The Cleveland Public Library is a member of CLEVNET, a consortium of 44 public libraries throughout northern Ohio. In 1947, it became a depository library for the United Nations Library network, holding documents for the state of Ohio. There are only 400 UN depository libraries worldwide.
In 2002, Northern Ohio library patrons had access to download digital books and periodicals through a new e-book system headquartered at Cleveland Public Library. The Clevnet consortium of libraries entered in a $50,000 setup-free agreement with the Cleveland based company OverDrive to allow patrons to download text from e-books to their personal computer. 
In 2012, the Library released a strategic plan focusing on communities of learning and preparing for its 150th anniversary in 2019.
Cleveland Public Library launched Tech Central on June 14, 2012, featuring a computer lab with 90 computers, tables encouraging collaboration, a 3D printer, and a MyCloud service. This $1 million dollar launch was funded primarily through the Library's existing budgets, in which the MyCloud service was partially funded through corporate partners. 
Cleveland Digital Public Library, along with four other Ohio Libraries (Columbus, Toledo, and Cincinnati), opened digitization hubs, with $1 million in funding dispersed among them, funded by Ohio Public Library Information Network and the Library Services Technology Act. Cleveland Digital Public Library debuted in February, 2015. As stated by Chatham Ewing, Cleveland Public Library's Digital Strategist, "It's a way for us to strike up some partnerships with local organizations that have historical objects they are interested in stewarding and digitizing." 
Notable former Cleveland Public Library staff members
- William Howard Brett - Head Librarian of Cleveland Public Library, 1884 to 1918. One of the "100 most important [librarians] in the 20th century"
- Marilla Waite Freeman - Head Librarian of the Cleveland Public Library's Main Library, 1922-1940; nationally-known librarian, author, and library school instructor
- Lawrence Quincy Mumford - Cleveland Public Library Director went on to become Librarian of Congress
- Andre Norton - Cleveland Public Library librarian, science fiction and fantasy author
- John Griswold White - Cleveland Public Library board member and president, noted chess historian
- "2016 CPL Annual Report" (PDF). Cleveland Public Library. Retrieved 2 June 2017.
- Cramer, C.H. (1972). Open Shelves and Open Minds: A History of the Cleveland Public Library. Cleveland, OH: Press of Case Western Reserve University.
- Cleveland Public Library Image Collections (n.d.). Retrieved May 24, 2009 from http://cplorg.cdmhost.com/cdm4/item_viewer.php?CISOROOT=/p4014coll13&CISOPTR=173&COSOBOX=1&REC3.
- Cleveland Public Library, Dominance of the City Archived 2007-09-28 at the Wayback Machine.. Accessed 2007-07-25.
- Mason, Marilyn Gell. "Annual report of the Cleveland Public Library for 1997". Cleveland Public Library. Retrieved June 20, 2018.
- Cleveland Public Library, Special Collections. Accessed 2017-04-26.
- "Locations". Cleveland Public Library. Retrieved April 26, 2017.
- "Cleveland PL Debuts New E-Book Loan Program". American Libraries. 34: 22 – via MasterFILE Premier Access.
- Good, T. "Three Makerspace Models that Work". American Libraries. 44: 45–47 – via Masterfile Premier.
- Thomas, Jr., Felton. "2017 Report to the Community".
- O'Brien, Erin (October 15, 2014). "Cleveland Digital Public Library will offer High-tech Scanning for the Masses". FreshWater.
- Leonard Kniffel, P. S. (1999, December). 100 of the Most Important Leaders we had in the 20th Century. American Libraries
- Cleveland Public Library (1889), Alphabetic catalogue of the English books in the circulating department of the Cleveland public library, Cleveland: Cleveland printing & publishing company, OCLC 1454982
- Cramer, C.H. (1972), Open Shelves, Open Minds: A History of the Cleveland Public Library, Cleveland: Press of Case Western Reserve University, ISBN 0-8295-0219-X
- Cleveland Public Library home page
- Images and architectural information
- The World's Greatest Chess Library