Cincinnati library home to historic collection of books

The elevator door opens on the 11th floor to reveal a hidden hide-away atop the city. It's the Mercantile Library. The oldest library west of the Alleghenies.

The Mercantile Library was founded in 1835 by a group of young clerks and businessmen.

"They put their books together. Pulled their resources together to buy books that would edify them," said Business and Membership Manager, Chris Messick.

The Merchantile Library is a serene spot in the middle of busy downtown Cincinnati.

It's the perfect place to escape from all the corporate commotion.

"You can bring food, coffee. We have a wireless network, so it's a nice place to work if you freelance or write," explained Messick.

Membership is $55 per year.

However, many of the cultural events and discussion groups are open to the public for free or a small fee.

"Throughout our history we have had Herman Melville, Harriet Beecher Stowe,Thackery. More recently we've had Tom Wolfe, John Updike, Joyce Carol Oats, Salmon Rushdie," Messick said.

At the Merchantile Library, you'll find silence is golden and at the public library, you'll find the books are golden, as in the Little Golden Books.

"Golden Legacy: Original art from 65 years of Golden Books" is part of a traveling exhibit making its way across the country.

"So many generations have grown up with Little Golden Books but you so rarely get to see the actual original pieces," explained Kate Lawrence of the Cincinnati Hamilton County Public Library.

Dozens of artists have brought Little Golden Books Characters to life on the pages.

"Some of them are really famous. Some of them have worked for the Disney Studios," said Lawrence.

Artists used watercolor. gouache and pen and ink for the vivid drawings.

The exhibit will be on display at the downtown library until February 21, 2013.

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