Group concerned library board planning to sell Downtown branch north building

Posted at 5:56 PM, Sep 18, 2017
and last updated 2017-09-19 10:04:43-04

CINCINNATI -- Members of Cincinnati's library board said rumors about the Downtown library branch being for sale aren't true.

But there are some changes in the making and the Downtown branch north building's future is in question. The Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County Board of Trustees is waiting for an appraisal and report from 3CDC before they decide what to do going forward.

The board has already decided to relocate some services from the north building to the south building. Those services include the children's library, homework center and teen spot.

Critics said the board made the changes without any public input.

"Decisions like that just simply cannot be made without having robust public engagement," Hamilton County Commissioner Todd Portune said.

Library board members said consolidation was necessary due to a drop in library visitors.

"You can now get on a computer from your home, school, workplace or local branch, so it really eliminated the need for visits to a main library" library Director Kim Fender said.

Vince Tafolla, a member of the group "Our Library, Our Decision," said he believed officials didn't understand how many people use the public space at the library for meetings or simply for leisure like reading a magazine or playing a game of chess.

That group's main concern is making sure it isn't sold to a private developer.

"If we lose that space, we're not going to get it back," Tafolla said. "The value of that land is going to go up as the Kroger development happens just down the street."

As of 2014, that site was worth $15 million, according to the Hamilton County Auditor's Office.

The "Our Library" group plans to hold a discussion at Urban Artifact Oct. 7. The next library board meeting is scheduled for Oct. 10.