Celebrating 150 Years of Columbus Metropolitan Library

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One hundred fifty years ago, shortly after the cruel crucible of the Civil War, a group of dedicated citizens formed the first library in our capital city. The Public Library and Reading Room opened on March 4, 1873 as a single room inside the original Columbus City Hall. Those modest origins were born out of a simple idea – to provide all people access to the resources they need to enrich their minds and transform their lives, their communities and our greater society.

From our humble beginnings in one room to the profound gift from Andrew Carnegie to build Main Library, from civic support that formed our first branches to community support that builds 21st century libraries, we owe much of our present to the work of so many in our past.

Today, we stand on the shoulders of dedicated staff and community members who have come before us – trailblazers who have forged pathways for us to become the library we are today, and the library we aspire to be in the future.

Our sesquicentennial celebration in 2023 marks 15 decades of commitment to inspire reading, share resources and connect people. We have served our customers through two pandemics and two world wars. Card catalogs held the key to our treasures within for many years, replaced by computers as the internet age took hold and we rode the wave of digital change, innovating and evolving to meet our customers’ needs. Through it all, Columbus Metropolitan Library, now 23 locations strong, remains a constant presence, providing access for all.

Celebrating 150 Years of Columbus Metropolitan Library