About Lakewood Public Library
The Lakewood Public Library first opened its doors in 1916 with only 10,000 books to offer the burgeoning streetcar community that built it. But as the city grew, so did the Library, adding thousands of volumes of science, art, history, law and literature every year to serve the needs of the knowledge seekers who flocked to Lakewood from all over the region. As other cities began erecting fine institutions of their own, the Library continued to expand with a series of major construction projects scattered over the decades. A close look at the building reveals that the original architecture has long since given way, unable to contain the explosive ambitions of a vibrant community. But the little Carnegie Library on Detroit, founded by early Lakewoodites as an investment in the future, was the seed of our success. And as Lakewood has prospered, becoming one of the finest places in the country to live and raise a family, its Library has grown beside it, becoming a world-class institution.
That tradition of excellence continues to this day as the Lakewood Public Library is consistently ranked among the best libraries in the nation, competing with large institutions far outside its weight class, but we proudly remain a local library. With a collection founded on essential knowledge and shaped by the interests of our robust population, a walk through the stacks reveals a grand Lakewood conversation taking place between generations, backgrounds and worldviews. The works of local authors, artists, scholars, historians, filmmakers and musicians line the shelves. We read side-by-side with our neighbors in the Grand Reading Room and we gather for celebrations on the front steps.
Today, the Library boasts nearly a half-a-million items available for checkout with the lowest cost-per-circulation ratio in the county. We're also open more hours than any Library in the state--hours for hardworking people! Two convenient locations put the Library within walking distance of every Lakewoodite. And a wide variety of free concerts, films, story times, lectures and classes for children, adults and seniors make the Library the place where Lakewood comes together.
Explore the Library's history through the following historical materials.
"Library Planning" by Edward L. Tilton in The Architectural Forum (December 1927). Edward L. Tilton, architect of the Lakewood Public Library’s original Carnegie home, literally wrote the book on designing libraries, having designed over one hundred of them himself. The original version of his Essentials in Library Planning, still relevant today, appeared as an article in The Architectural Forum and is available here in electronic format.
A History of Lakewood Public Library by Martha J. Hamilton (1954). Hamilton recounts the decisions that defined the Library’s first three leaders and examines the challenges facing the fourth.
The Development and Growth of the Lakewood Public Library by June Conrad (1956). Conrad considers the role of the Library as a social agency and examines services provided at the Main Library and at the Madison Branch.
A History of Young People's Work at Lakewood Public Library by Shirley Schneider (1957). Schneider's account of Lakewood Public Library focuses on the Library's services for children and on the Library’s relationship with local schools.
History of the Lakewood Public Library, Lakewood, Ohio: the First Twenty-Five Years, 1913-1938 by Mary Martha Reed (1958). While purusing her master's degree in library science, Mary Martha Reed wrote this intriguing profile of Lakewood Public Library's original head librarian, Roena Ingham.
History of the Lakewood Public Library, Lakewood, Ohio 1938-1960 by Beverly Anne Jones (1961). Jones' thesis serves as a sequel to Reed’s definitive look at the Library’s first head librarian and focuses on the Library’s efforts to find its way in the wake of Roena Ingham’s death.
Lakewood College Club's Forty Years (1926-1966) by Margaret Manor Butler (1966). Author of the popular Lakewood book "Romance in Lakewood Streets," Margaret Manor Butler celebrated Lakewood College Club’s fortieth anniversary with this account of the Club's history.
Lakewood Sun Post Supplement (1966). Entitled "Lakewood Public Library Moves Forward," this special supplement to the Lakewood Sun Post highlights the history of Lakewood Public Library's first fifty years and contains many photographs of the Library and its patrons.
Reed Thomason Mural Characters (1979, re-collected 2017). In 1978, Cleveland resident and Cleveland Institute of Art graduate Reed Thomason painted a stunning sixty foot mural for the Library's Children’s Room. This article showcases the characters from classical and children’s literature which are depicted in Thomason's exquisite painting.
Moulders of Community Service: The Directors of Lakewood Public Library, 1916-1976 by Carol S. Jacobs (1989). Jacob's student history offers the most comprehensive scholarly look at the history of the library to date and also paints a compelling portrait of the city of Lakewood, Ohio.
Edward Lippincott Tilton: A Monograph on His Architectural Practice by Lisa B. Mausolf with Elzabeth Durfee Hengen (2007). Written for the Currier Museum of Art, this short, scholarly article provides an overview of the life of Lakewood Public Library architect Edward L. Tilton. The monograph includes an excellent bibliography and numerous phtos of the beautiful libraries Tilton designed.
Library History Chronolgies, Ephemera, and Notes (re-collected 2017). These notes, histories and ephemera showcase the Library’s founding and evolution from 1916 to 2016.
Rules for the Government of the Lakewood Public Library (re-collected 2017). Recollected in 2017, these papers show the rules for the governance of the Library. The date of the rules’ original promulgation is unknown.
Main Library Adult Print: 191,851
Main Adult Film and Music: 91,300
Main Juvenile Print, Film and Music: 137,984
Madison Branch: 53,347
Total Collection: 474,482
Interior colors - view a color palette of the paint colors used in Lakewood Public Library's interior here