During the COVID-19 pandemic, spending time outdoors has become more vital to our wellbeing. And thanks to work based on the Library’s Facility Master Plan and a generous donation from the FC Cincinnati Foundation, the West End Branch received an upgrade to its courtyard so community members can use the revived space and access the Library’s WiFi and computers.
In 2019, the Library held listening sessions for the West End community as part of the systemwide planning process
for its Facility Master Plan. “We heard loud and clear the need for increased access to technology and dynamic,
engaging, and flexible spaces,” said Paula Brehm-Heeger, the Library’s Eva Jane Romaine Coombe Director.
“We’ve seen firsthand how the pandemic has exacerbated the need for greater access to computers and WiFi for job
development, filing federal and local government forms, telehealth, voter registration, faxing, scanning, email, filing
unemployment, and more.”
Concrete has already been poured and the renovations begun in the walled-in outdoor area just off the adult space in
the branch. The courtyard is open and accessible with shade and space for individuals and families to enjoy. Funding
from the FC Cincinnati Foundation has underwritten new technology solutions for customer use in the courtyard and
throughout the branch. A new laptop cart enables customers to check-out a laptop for a 60-minute computer session.
“Support from community partners like the FC Cincinnati Foundation to the Library’s Foundation helps to leverage
and enhance the public dollars that the Library receives,” said Staci Dennison the Thomas W. Jones Executive
Director of the Library Foundation. “Every dollar we receive to support our branches and the work they do to
support our community is critical and expands what can be accomplished during this very challenging time.”
“Operating with reduced occupancy limits and limits on the duration of customer visits during the pandemic has
forced us to get creative and we’re thrilled that FC Cincinnati Foundation is onboard to help us expand our reach for
the West End Community,” said Branch Manager Keloni Parks. “The laptops allow us to increase access without
exceeding our building occupancy limits. That means our kids are able to enjoy the computers without competing for
computer time with adults.”
The Cincinnati & Hamilton County Public Library has had to pivot several services during the pandemic. This new
courtyard, along with access to laptops, allows customers more space at the Library to physically distance
themselves while using the Library’s resources.
For more about what’s happening at the Library, call 513-369-6900 or visit www.CincinnatiLibrary.org/.