Central Library (downtown Buffalo)

Central Library (downtown Buffalo)

1 Lafayette Square
Buffalo, NY 14203
United States

Fax: 716-858-6211

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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 Central Library has a 324-seat auditorium with a Steinway grand piano, as well as three meeting rooms that may be reserved for events by outside non-profit organizations and businesses.  Author visits, children's programming, book clubs, speaker events, chess programs, movies and more are regular happenings at the Central Library. For more information visit our calendar page.

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 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)

Welcome back to the Library!

Great News!
The downtown Central Library is now
open to the public!

For the safety of our staff and patrons, everyone must wear a face covering and social distancing measures will be followed.

Open Hours:

Monday - Thursday           8:00 a.m.- 7:00 p.m.

Friday and Saturday         9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.

Take a tour of the downtown Central Library here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pdHiSr_2EHs&feature=youtu.be.

B&ECPL Reopening and Safety Plan for Libraries located in the City of Buffalo – COVID-19

Reopen Plan
Safety Plan  
Handling Materials during COVID-19  
Protective Measures to Reduce Risk of Exposure to COVID-19 

Pre-entry Health Questionnaire  (Questionnaire is for Library employees, vendors and in-house tenants.) 

Online virtual programs  - all free!

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic all library programming is taking place online. 


B&ECPL Reopening and Safety Plan for Libraries located in the City of Buffalo – COVID-19
Reopen Plan
Safety Plan  
Handling Materials during COVID-19
Protective Measures to Reduce Risk of Exposure to COVID-19 
Pre-entry Health Questionnaire  (Questionnaire is for Library employees, vendors and in-house tenants.) 

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

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

    Enjoy and stay well! 








    Downtown Buffalo's Central Library at Night


    Buffalo & Erie County Public Library Background Logo


    Looking out from the downtown Buffalo Central Library



    A red, white and blue evening view from the downtown Central Library


    Glass ceiling @ Buffalo's Frank E. Merriweather, Jr., Branch Library

    Zoom Buffalo Library circa 1915

    B is for Book new exhibit. Free and open to the public.

    Come see our new exhibit, B is for Book.
    Free and open to the public during all regular library hours.

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


    IMAGINE Buffalo Logo

    IMAGINE Buffalo - lifelong learning.

    Imagining Buffalo Niagara in the 21st Century - A lecture/discussion series held every Tuesday.
    Currently due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the program is running virtually on Zoom. 
    Each Tuesday at 12:30 p.m., login at: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/85839766406

    To see the entire list of upcoming guests, click here:  https://buffalolib.libcal.com/calendar/events/?t=d&q=IMAGINE&cid=12898&….   
    Discussions are hosted by program founder Dennis Galucki. Call the Library for details about the schedule of speakers which is subject to change. 716-858-8900.

    Here is the media release about the Fall 2020 IMAGINE Buffalo program: https://www.buffalolib.org/sites/default/files/users/dcteam/new-releases/Imagine%20rel%20Sept%202020%20FINAL.pdf.Click here to select from the audio archives.
    Sponsored by the 
    Center for the Study of Art, Architecture, History and Nature (C-SAAHN) in conjunction with the Buffalo & Erie County Public Library.



    BPS Student artshow 2020

    We are delighted to share with you artwork from Buffalo Public School students. This year’s "Celebrate Art" is virtual.  Annually, downtown Central Library has hosted a fantastic display featuring artwork from PreK- 12th grade BPS students; however the COVID-19 pandemic has prevented that from happening.  Thank you to all who made this possible. Click here: https://youtu.be/3Opeg6E1M_4 .

    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.