In 2006, I moved to Northern Kentucky of the Greater Cincinnati Area. For a couple of years, I made the trek across the river via the Brent Spence bridge to work in downtown Cincinnati. One of my first tasks outside of work was to find the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County. A couple of blocks away, I was pleased to find it to be a large building that spanned two blocks with the magazine area crossing over 9th Street. It reminded me of the Atrium at Circle Center Mall in Indianapolis. While most libraries have a drive-up drop-off to return books, CPL also has a drive-up to pick up books.
A sculpture of giant books with a waterfall graces the entrance on Vine St. Inside, the building has three floors. Taking stairs or elevators to the second floor, crossing through the magazine area, then taking a spiral staircase back to the first floor brings you to the children’s section. The second floor has a huge computer lab that is continuously utilized by thousands of patrons.
I discovered an interesting aspect of CPL when I was looking for a copy of Booth Tarkington’s The Magnificent Ambersons for my book club (which was still in Indianapolis). The on-line catalogue stated that CPL had the book and that it was in. It also had a message that said to see the Information Desk. This was the first of many times in which I requested an either out-of-print or obscure book from the Information Desk and they brought it up from what I imagined to be a dark and dusty basement. I’m glad they were able to keep these books as opposed to throwing them away. My imagination would sometimes get the better of me in wondering what kind of secret place these books were kept.
For a brief time, I worked in Blue Ash (north side of Cincy) and became a regular visitor of it’s branch. While I was working here, a colleague of mine was listening to a group called The Little Willies. After listening for a while, we figured out many of the lead vocals were by Norah Jones. Not thinking I would be able to find this music on CD at the library, I looked it up any way. Sure enough, there it was at the Blue Ash branch. I picked it up at lunch and enjoyed listening to it for several weeks.
My favorite part of the downtown branch of CPL was the reading garden. Set up with garden tables and chairs, trees and fountains, while the weather was warm (and sometimes when it wasn’t), I would spend several lunch hours a week there, getting away from the hectic grind. What I liked best about the garden was the tall vine covered brick wall that surrounded it, keeping out the busyness of downtown.
I stopped working in downtown Cincy in 2009. Since then, I haven’t been as frequent of visitor to CPL. There are still a few out-of-print books that they have that I want to get. Two of them are childrens books written by Chaim Potok: The Tree of Here and The Sky of Now. I’ve looked for these books for years and could never find them, then one day I looked on-line at CPL and there they were with the message “See Information Desk”.
Here’s one last picture: Baseball and books – what could be better?