Central Library Renovation Project Updates

The Denver Public Library’s Central location renovation was made possible thanks to the voter approved 2017 Elevate Denver Bond. These renovations are the most significant changes to the Central Library since the Michael Graves addition in 1995. Funding for the renovation comes from a mix of sources, including the Elevate Denver Bond, support from the Denver Public Library Friends Foundation, and Strong Library, Strong Denver, supported by the Denver Public Library Fund. Check out this space for regular updates and a look into the construction progress.

The Hard Hat Zone

See the Central Library like you’ve never seen before! The Hard Hat Zone lifts the construction tape to give you a look at all the changes happening inside the Central Library as they happen. Take a peek below for the latest updates.

February 2024

The Central Library Renovation Moves the Red Chair Bookstore Into a New Bigger Space
Image of current progress on a future book shop and cafe area in the Central Library. Carpet and ceilings are installed and glass is waiting to be installed.

The Red Chair Bookstore will be moving across to the eastern side of the Central Library and into a bigger space once the building opens later this year.

The bookstore is run by the Denver Public Library Friends Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting and raising funds for the Denver Public Library. Can’t wait to purchase used books and support Denver Public Library? Learn all about the Friends Foundation’s Used Book program here.

January 2024

Central Library will be THE meeting spot for the Denver Community
a brand new meeting room at the Central Library.

The last few years have changed how the Denver community works and plays. Renovations at the Central Library include additions to the building that meet the demands of a growing Denver. This includes fifteen new study rooms and community spaces on the second and third floors of the library. Funding for the new spaces is made possible thanks to the 2017 Elevate Denver Bond and Strong Library, Strong Denver, supported by the DPL Fund

Before construction began, library-goers only had nooks and desks across the building as options for work and study. The brand new spaces will vary in size and resources to accommodate different needs such as audio and video setups and even sinks for community gatherings. This substantial upgrade to the building means that students, professionals, and the Downtown Denver community will be able to get the most out of their Central Library.

December 2023

A look back at Central Library’s 2023 renovation progress
Etched glass with the words "Park View". Behind the glass is a view of the new event space.DPL staff pose for a picture in front of the near complete, Grand Staircase.

The Central Library renovation has made significant progress in 2023, including the completion and opening of the new Park View event space and the start of the construction of an innovative teen space. Construction of the Grand Staircase is complete and work continued on other parts of the facility including an updated commons space, a new bookstore and coffee shop area, and additional meeting and study rooms.

Take a look below at Completed Renovation Milestones and previous Hard Hat Zone updates for more details on the exciting changes from 2023. Much more is still ahead going into 2024 as we approach the final stages of the Central Library renovation. Keep an eye on this space!

November 2023

The Grand Staircase is one step closer to completion
A picture of the newly added grand staircase at the Central Library. The staircase is nearly complete, but the photo shows construction tape and tools surrounding it.

Library goers will be welcomed with a brand new staircase once the Central Library opens. The Grand Staircase replaces the outdated escalators that were once hidden in Schlessman Hall and will lead through most of the Central Library’s floors. The change will cut back on costs to maintain an escalator and provide a safer and more reliable experience. All elevators at the Central Library were also replaced and updated earlier during the renovation to support customers who are unable to use the steps.

Work on the Grand Staircase began in May and the finishing touches are now being implemented. Care was taken to protect the fossil embedded flooring in Schlessman Hall during the installation of the staircase. Finishing touches include glass railings, a paint job, and an intricate design pattern on the staircase steps. 

October 2023

Central Library renovation makes its way outside 
An exterior photo of the Central Library from the Broadway and 13th Ave side. The location is fenced off and traffic cones surround the fence.

The renovations go beyond what’s happening inside. Changes to the exterior are happening now and include repairs and improvements to the sidewalks all around the building. Work on the Broadway side of the Central Library will improve the pedestrian experience with accessibility in mind. A plaza with low concrete walls, steps lit by LED strips, and ramps are being added as well as a snow melt system to help during winter conditions. Trees, shrubs, and perennial plants will be added on Broadway to create a pleasant outdoor experience.

Exterior work by 14th Avenue is nearing completion and will include a pathway to the brand new Park View programming space with steps and a simple modern design.

September 2023

Work on Dedicated Teen Space Begins Thanks to Strong Library, Strong Denver, supported by the DPL Fund!
Second floor of the Central Library before renovations for a teen library began. You see book shelves and carpeting.Renovation work begins for a new teen library space. The same area from the previous photo shows no carpet and no book shelves. Just grey concrete.

Work has begun on creating the ultimate teen space for Denver’s youth. Thanks to the generosity of Denver voters, this project is funded by Strong Library, Strong Denver, supported by the DPL Fund. The Teen Space will be located on the second floor, right above the new Children’s Library. Stay tuned for more details and updates soon!

February 2023

Central reopened to the public in a new temporary space on Tuesday, Feb. 14. The same, limited public services previously offered will be available in the space located in the northern portion of the first floor, including borrower services, holds pick up, materials retrieval, the Children’s Library, access to Western History & Genealogy and Reference services (archives and research), and Community Resources. 

The building was closed for three weeks as public services were relocated from the south side of the first floor to the north side of the first floor. The renovated space, called The Park View, will eventually become the library’s event space when construction is completed and the library reopens fully.

Floors two through seven will remain closed to the public. Due to space constraints in the new public areas, there will be limited space available for browsing and limited seating.

January 2023

The Denver Central Library will temporarily close to the public beginning Sunday, Jan. 22. During the approximately two week closure, existing public services will be relocated from the south side of the first floor to the north side of the first floor. The building is expected to reopen to the public with limited first floor access in early February. 

When the building reopens to the public, the new, temporary public entrance to the building will be located on the west side of the building, between 13th Avenue and 14th Avenue on Acoma Plaza across from the Denver Art Museum. 

The same, limited public services currently offered will be available in the temporary new space on the first floor only when Central Library reopens, including borrower services, holds pick up, materials retrieval, the Children’s Library, access to Western History & Genealogy and Reference services (archives and research), and Community Resources.

Completed Renovation Milestones

The New Park View Programming Space Promises Imaginative Experiences
A rendering of the Park View space and a photo of the actual space.

Before the renovation, the Central Library lacked a welcoming event space. Thanks to the Elevate Denver Bond and the minds at Studio Trope (architects) and GH Phipps (contractors) the Central Library now includes a new event space expertly designed to host author visits, library programming, and after hours events. Named Park View, the new event area is the most visible change made to date through the bond supported renovation. 

Previously the home of our Children’s Library, the renovated space was intentionally designed with callbacks to the building’s Michael Graves design history. The ceiling of the former space was removed to create a two story high, inviting, open design that includes plenty of natural lighting and architectural design to enhance the space’s sound. Support beams were removed and the building’s structure had to be re-shifted in order to achieve the ambitious design of the space.

The Park View programming space includes its own entrance by 14th Ave (Currently serving as the Central Library’s temporary entrance) which will eventually create opportunities for after hours programming. The space is temporarily being used to house Denver Public Library services during open hours. Check out the remarkable Park View space during your next visit! 

A Completely Overhauled and Modern Children’s Library
A picture of the new Children's Library. There is colorful, children sized furniture and fun, blue ceiling light lights

Denver Public Library is home to one of the longest running children’s libraries in the nation. A lot of care was given when planning the enhancement of our Children’s Library. The move of the children’s area to the east side of the building not only allowed us to take advantage of the bigger space to modernize the space, but also brought the area closer to the future teen space which will be situated on the second floor. This proximity makes the transition for youth natural as they age up and makes it easier for families to stay together during their library visits.

The new Children’s Library features a new storytime area designed to spotlight our storytellers and performers with a backdrop that frames the beautiful Civic Center park. A brand new project room for our youngest library visitors sparks their creativity with activities and crafts and unlocks new programming potential. Sprinkled throughout the Children’s Library are plenty of interactive designs to help children explore all of their senses. 

One of the first projects to reach completion, the space opened to the public in April 2022. Visit the space during Central Library open hours. There is no need to wait for the full reopening of the Central Library to experience this marvel!

Brand New Bathrooms on Every Floor

Every floor at the Central Library includes newly renovated bathrooms. The bathroom’s sleek new design includes new tiling, plumbing, and a shared sink space in order to create a more friendly and safe environment for all library goers. 

Related Links

The History of the Denver Public Library
Central Library 2023 Hours and Access
Keep Up with Updates Thanks to Strong Library, Strong Denver Supported by the DPL Fund
Learn More About the Elevate Denver Bond