Blair-Caldwell African American Research Library Renovation Updates

Exterior photograph of the Blair-Caldwell African American Research Library

Blair Archives Messages

Updated 10.19.23

The Blair-Caldwell African American Research Library recently underwent a $3.7 million renovation and reopened to the public in August. The renovation was part of the Elevate Denver Bond passed by voters in 2017. Most of the renovations took place on the first floor of the building.

While the building was closed, the archives collections were moved to Central Library to offer the community access to the collections during the closure. 

We are committed to continuing to make improvements and updates to Blair-Caldwell in order to create an updated facility for the community and to ensure we are good stewards of our archives by housing them in a space that reflects best practices in archival storage. 

  • For example, some needed HVAC improvements were not included in the renovation but require further attention.
  • Currently, DPL is working on replacing the HVAC units that control the temperature in the archives storage area and also addressing some leaks in the building. 

Because of this, the archives collections remain at the Central Library and will not be moved back to Blair-Caldwell until the equipment is replaced. The public can continue to access the Blair-Caldwell archives collections on the first floor of the Central Library during open hours. For more information please contact Dexter Nelson II, Museums and Archives Supervisor at

The non-circulating book collection remains publicly accessible in the research room at Blair-Caldwell.In addition, many titles are now available on the first floor of Blair Caldwell in our new African American circulating collection for you to check out and enjoy at home. At this time we do not have an estimated timeline for the completion of the work.  

Blair-Caldwell's Renovations Are Complete and is Now Open!

The Blair-Caldwell's indoor "Freedom's Legacy" mural is pictured. At the bottom of the graphic, the words read "Blair- Caldwell African American Research Library > NOW OPEN"

The Blair-Caldwell African American Research Library is now open to the public! The opening comes just in time to celebrate the library's 20th anniversary year. This is the first time the library has received a renovation since being built in 2003.

The location opens with extended hours thanks to funding from Strong Library, Strong Denver, supported by the Denver Public Library (DPL) Fund. The location will be open:

  • Mondays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.,
  • Tuesdays from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.,
  • Fridays and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

We celebrated the 20th anniversary of the branch and the grand reopening on Aug. 12, 2023. The celebration included a ribbon cutting ceremony, refreshments, entertainment and programming on every floor of the library!

Library staff, dignitaries, and library goers celebrate the reopening of the Blair-Caldwell library with a ribbon cutting ceremony. People are gathered behind a ribbon outside the library and are smiling, high fivng, and cheering.

Designer: Handprint Architecture
General Contractor: Interlock Construction 

Renovation project includes: 

  • First-floor renovation incorporating a new teen space
  • Reimagined children's area
  • New study rooms with amenities
  • Relocation of the circulation desk and new book drop
  • New public art installed on the first floor, which will feature the work of a local artist Sam McNeil

Additional project renovation includes: landscaping, sidewalks and parking lots; improved heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems; updated access controls, ADA compliance, life safety systems & surveillance, electrical, lighting, power and communication systems, IT, signage & wayfinding; and interior finish, furniture, and fixture refreshes to the restrooms, conference and community rooms, children’s area, staff room, and book return.

Blair-Caldwell Renovation Fact Sheet | Hoja Informativa de Renovación de Blair-Caldwell

Renovation background info, public engagement and history

First floor renovation renderings

Digital rendering of newly renovated library interiorDigital rendering of renovation inside the main area of the first floorDigital rendering of alternate angle of interior renovations in main library area on first floor.

Renovation will include public art that features local artist Sam McNeil (Superior Ironworks+)

Photograph of artist Sam McNeil sitting on stairs on exterior of brick building.

Back to Elevate Denver Bond Program overview page