Central Library (downtown Buffalo)

Central Library (downtown Buffalo)
    Library Info

    1 Lafayette Square
    Buffalo, NY 14203
    United States

    Fax: 716-858-6211

    Facebook Icon Instagram Logo twitter SoundClound Pinterest Flickr YoutubeTikTok Icon

    Enter the downtown Central Library from any of these accessible entrances:

    • Washington Street entrance, across from Lafayette Square between Clinton and William Streets.
    • Ellicott Street entrance, under the Library building between Clinton and William Streets.
    • Auditorium entrance on Clinton Street, only open when there is an event taking place in the Library Auditorium.

    Directions to Central Library

    1 Lafayette Square, Buffalo NY 14203, 716-858-8900

    All roads lead to the Central Library! The Central Library of the Buffalo and Erie County Public Library System is conveniently located on Lafayette Square in the heart of downtown Buffalo.


    The Central Library is one block north of the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority Bus Terminal. Several bus routes intersect at or near the Library, including the #1 William, #2 Clinton, #4 Broadway, #6 Sycamore and #8 Main routes. In addition, the Evans Bank Station @ Lafayette Square of the NFTA Metro Rail line is one block west of the Washington Street entrance to the Library. Fees for public transit may apply.

    For more information, visit the NFTA Metro website or call 716-855-7211.


    From the Buffalo-Niagara International Airport or points east, take the Kensington Expressway (Route 33) west into Buffalo. The Expressway empties onto Oak Street. Proceed south to William Street and turn right.

    From the New York State Thruway (Route 90), take Route I-190 to Downtown Buffalo. Exit at Elm Street. Proceed north to William Street and turn left.


    The Library does not own or manage a parking lot.

    Nearby public and paid parking includes:

    • AllPro Parking, located directly across from the library, bordered by Broadway, Washington and Ellicott streets. Lot entrance is on Washington Street. You can enter the library from Washington or Ellicott streets.
    • Pay station/metered public parking, managed by the City of Buffalo, is available on area streets surrounding the library including Oak, Clinton, Washington, William, Ellicott and Broadway. Meters are free on Saturdays and Sundays and after 5 p.m. on weekdays. Fees and hours are subject to change, regulated by the City of Buffalo and not by the Library.
    • The Adam Parking Ramp (managed by Buffalo Civic Auto Ramps) is 2 blocks south of the library along Washington Street. Regular rates apply on weekdays, with parking free after 5 p.m. for the first two hours.


    There are three accessible parking meters located around the Central Library building:

    • Oak Street behind the library (between Broadway and Clinton streets) 
    • William Street (between Ellicott and Oak streets) 
    • Clinton Street (between Ellicott & Oak streets).

    Rates are currently $2.00 per hour, with a maximum of two hours as set by the City of Buffalo. Parking meter rates and parking restrictions are determined by the City of Buffalo and are subject to change. Street parking is enforced from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Weekend parking and evening parking after 5 p.m. is free at meters near the Central Library.

    Meters take quarters, or you can use the pay station on Washington Street, which takes cash or credit cards.

    Parking is enforced around the Central Library building by the Buffalo Police Department.

    For more information on City of Buffalo Parking you can access their Frequently Asked Questions by clicking here.


    Buffalo Roam is a mobile app that allows drivers to pay for their parking using their smart phones. The app allows you to pay via credit card, receive alerts when your time is about to expire and extend your parking without running back to feed the meter, among other features. A 10-cent fee applies. This app is not owned or managed by the Library. For more information, click here .


    The Library has bike racks located at the Washington Street entrance and at the Ellicott Street entrance. Bikes should always be securely locked. The Library is not responsible for lost or stolen bikes or biking equipment such as helmets.


    All library entrances at Washington, Ellicott and Oak streets are barrier free and are open during regular library hours. Each offers cut-away curbs for wheelchair access. Automatic doors feature controls less than 48" high. Call 716-858-7185 for accessible parking information.

    The Ellicott Street entrance (between William and Clinton Streets) is easiest to enter for vehicle drop-off. This entrance is open during all regular library hours. 

    The Auditorium entrance on Clinton Street is also barrier-free. This entrance is only open when there are events in the Auditorium.

    For general information, call 716-858-8900. TDD:  716-842-0051, wwwBuffaloLib.org

    Map of the Central Library
    Book a Library Tour
    Accessibility at Central Library

    About the Central Library

    Extending two city blocks in length and encompassing more than 400,000 square feet of floor space (and more than 58 miles of shelving), the Central Library at Lafayette Square is located in the heart of downtown Buffalo and is headquarters of the Buffalo & Erie County Public Library System.

    Completed in 1964, this facility houses approximately two million volumes; special exhibition rooms for rare and valuable materials including the Mark Twain Room, the Collections Gallery and the Rare Book Room; a computer training lab; and the Launch Pad MakerSpace; plus a host of centralized administrative and support operations for the entire 37-site Library System. 

    The downtown Central Library has a newly renovated 301-seat fully accessible auditorium, as well as three meeting rooms and other indoor and outdoor spaces that may be reserved for meetings/public programs by non-profit organizations and businesses.  Onsite author visits, children's programming, book clubs, movies and technology classes and demonstrations are regular happenings at the Central Library. For more information visit our calendar page or call 716-858-8900.

    Black and white copies from a copy machine are available for 15 cents each. Color copies are available for 50 cents each. Public access computers are available. Printing from public access computers  and Mobile Printing is available for 10 cents per black and white page and 25 cents per color page.

    The Library has a fax machine located near Borrower Services by the Washington Street entrance.  Faxing is $1.75 for the first page and $1 for each additional page. 

    "What can I do at a Public Access Computer?"

    Wireless access is also available throughout the Library on all floors.

    Now on Display at the Central Library
    Meeting Rooms at the Central Library
    Special Collections: Grosvenor Room (Genealogy, Music, Rare Books)
    Mark Twain Room


    Central (downtown Buffalo)

    The downtown Central Library is open

    Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday        8:00 am - 7:00 pm
    Friday and Saturday        9:00 am - 5:00 pm
    Sunday  12 noon - 5:00 pm

    The Library is closed on major holidays.
    The next closure date is May 30 for Memorial Day.


    This Week at Central (pdf)


    This Week at Central

    IMAGINE Buffalo Logo

    Imagining Buffalo Niagara in the 21st Century 
    A lecture/discussion series held every Tuesday at 12:30 p.m.
    Currently due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the program is running virtually on Zoom. 
    Details are here.

    View the  IMAGINE Buffalo Spring 2022 Schedule (PDF with Zoom links)

    May 17, 2022: Catherine Lincoln and Jim Charlier of Garden Walk Buffalo to discuss "Garden Walk 2022." Join via Zoom.

    May 24, 2022: Adam Rome of University at Buffalo to discuss "Olmsted’s Design & Buffalo’s Future." Join via Zoom.

    May 31, 2022: "Roundtable Discussion on Sustainability & The Art of Investing" featuring Nira Johri of Rich Products. Join via Zoom.

    June 7, 2022: Buffalo Refresh Editor Scott Scanlon to discuss "How to Move Up the RWJF NYS County Ranking." Join via Zoom.

    June 14, 2022: Robert Shibley of the UB School of Architecture and Planning to discuss "Olmsted's Design and Buffalo's Future." Join via Zoom

    June 21, 2022: WNED Executive Producer David Rotterman to discuss "Buffalo Day at CHQ - Olmsted 200." Join via Zoom. 

    Discussions are hosted by program founder Dennis Galucki. Call the Library for details about the speaker schedule, which is subject to change. 716-858-8900.

    IMAGINE Buffalo is sponsored by the Center for the Study of Art, Architecture, History and Nature (C-SAAHN) in conjunction with the Buffalo & Erie County Public Library

    Visit here for an archive of past IMAGINE Buffalo Zoom programs beginning in Fall 2020.

    Spring 2022 - Central Library - Free Activities for Children & Families (PDF)

    Summer 2022 - Central Library - Free Activities for Children & Families (PDF)


    Saturday Storytime

    Saturday Storytime (10:30am)
    May 21 and June 4

    Stories are best for ages 3-6, but kids of all ages and their families are welcome!

    Event located in the B is for Book exhibit on the second floor of the Central Library.

    June 18 Sensory Play at 10:30am

    Sensory Stay n' Play (ages 3-5, with caregiver)
    Saturday, June 18 (10-11am)

    No registration required! However, adult supervision is required. Materials are first come, first served.

    Event located in the Central Library, Ring of Knowledge.


    Brain Sparks logo

    For teenagers only! 

    We are excited to announce a new teen program! Brain Sparks: Creative Fuel for the Mind.

    Do you love art? Reading? Want to meet like-minded people? Brain Sparks may be for you!

    Each month will feature a different art medium and book. Registered teens will receive a box of art supplies and a book to keep. Participants will also receive a Creativebug website subscription (good for a year). These supplies are to be used at the monthly Brain Sparks program.

    There are two sessions each month and teens must be able to attend both sessions since the skills build from the first session to the second. In the first session, we will learn how to use the art supplies. At our second session, we will discuss the book and using the skills we learned previously, create something inspired by the book. 
    (It's free, but you do need to register!) Visit the teen blog for more information about monthly themes and deadlines for registration -  www.BuffaloLib.org/Services/teens

    Teens who are 13-17 years old (or in 8th to 12th grade) and live in Erie County are eligible to participate! 




    B is for Book logo

    We look forward to you coming to see our exhibit, B is for Book.

    More details here - https://www.buffalolib.org/whats-happening/b-book


    Hosting or participating in a Zoom/virtual meeting during these challenging times?

    Here are a handful of Buffalo & Erie County Public Library Zoom backgrounds you can download for your own use.

    Repeating Logo

    Repeating logo

    Front of the Central Library in the evening

    Central Library

    Central Library Interior window

    Central Library interior

    Buffalo library circa 1915

    Buffalo Library circa 1915




    Issues & Views Townsquare Media radio interview 8/2021.
    Theme: Books for Kids, Project Flight initiative 


    Buffalo Branches Board Info

    Library System Information on the Board of Trustees

    The Buffalo & Erie County Public Library System Board of Trustees is the governing body for the downtown Central Library, and the eight branch libraries located in the city of Buffalo. These include: Crane, Dudley, East Clinton,  Frank E. Merriweather, Jr., North Park, Elaine M. Panty Branch Library, Isaías González-Soto Branch Library, and the Leroy R. Coles, Jr. Branch Library.

    All System Board of Trustee meetings and committee meetings are open to the public

    To see monthly board meeting schedules, agendas and minutes, click here.