BECPL Central Library

1 Lafayette Square

Information Hub (Located outside) – You can pick up your Event Guide & Map, chat with Doors Open Buffalo volunteers, learn about how to use Reddy Bike and check out fun family activities with the Buffalo Architecture Foundation!

Hours: VIP Access: 9:00am/General Public: 10:00 am to 5:00 pm
Last Admittance for Guided Tours: 4:00 pm
Photography and Filming Allowed
Wheelchair Accessible: Yes
Public Restrooms: Yes

Offering: Guided Tours and Self-Guided Tours

Visitor Experience: Insider view of this extraordinary building! 30 minute tours offered on the hour, led by Library staff, will begin at the Washington Street main entrance and will include an overview of Library services and history, visits to all current exhibits (WWI – Buffalo Never Fails, Mark Twain Room, Slavery exhibit – Telling the Story: American Enslavement of African People), the Grosvenor Room – local history/genealogy, and massive behind the scenes storage area.

Building Description:
The Central Library at 1 Lafayette Square opened in 1964. The present building was designed by local firm Kideney Architects to house an urban library branch and the centralized collections and functions of today’s county-wide, 37 site Buffalo & Erie County Public Library System. Its unique design is 2 city blocks big and 5 stories tall (2 of the floors are the non-public storage areas for over 3 million items), featuring 57 miles of shelves and the Library’s peerless 40,000 item Rare Books & Special Collections. Display areas for collection-based exhibits, office spaces for library staff, community meeting rooms, a public cafe, and the Library’s MakerSpace are based here.

This Library, owned by Erie County, replaces an earlier one (in service 1887-1963) on this highly visible site in the central city. At this location, (once the site of Erie County’s earlier courthouse), Library services coexisted with the early collections that originated today’s Buffalo Museum of Science, Albright-Knox Art Gallery and the Buffalo History Museum.

the Central Library offers a wide variety of free services and resources to 300,000 visitors, annually. New this Summer: additional programs outdoors at Buffalo’s Reading Park!