Sunday, April 13, 2008

National Library Week Tribute #1: Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County

This is National Library Week. I want to offer a tribute this week to several libraries that have been a part of my life. I am not going to feature them in the order of my first encounter with them. In fact, the order will be entirely random.

I chose the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County as my first library simply because it was the library of greatest importance to me when I first became serious about genealogy. I was living in the Queen City. I had heard wonderful things about the library's genealogy collection. My mom had expressed an interest in exploring the family history but she didn't really know much about doing it. I knew I had the research skills as a librarian to begin the project. I spent many hours there researching my family history. I was able to tour some of the closed stacks there with a group of librarians more than once. I would always marvel at all the items that were held by the library. I spent many hours in front of their microfilm readers reading soundex and census records. I used their collection of ship's passenger lists. That library is usually listed as one of the top ten libraries for genealogists, and I was fortunate to live there at that time in my life.

I usually used the main library because of my genealogical interests. Their fiction collection was also wonderful. I discovered many wonderful authors during my time in Cincinnati. Their non-fiction collection matched my diverse interests.

If I was spending the day at the main library, I'd usually walk down a couple of blocks to Skyline Chili for lunch. If there was a big festival downtown, I'd often go on down to where the vendors were set up and enjoy brats or other street fare. I'd always end up back at the library to finish up my day's research and to select a few books to take home to read.

I occasionally went to one of the branch libraries for a fiction book that wasn't in stock at the main library. If a book I wanted was not at one of the branches close to work or home, I'd usually use their branch delivery service to have the book delivered to a branch nearby.

The Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County is one of the city's true treasures.

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