Wednesday, February 9, 2011

The Mercantile Library: An Urban Oasis

On a recommendation, I went over to the Mercantile Library a couple of weeks ago. Located on the 11th floor of the Mercantile Building at 414 Walnut Street, this place is literally a fortress of solitude. I fell in love with it immediately and signed up for a annual membership ($55 for individuals; $90 family).

Walking in, the feeling you get is first 'class' and then 'scholarly'. They cram a great deal of very beautiful, ornate decoration into a relatively small space. I spent a few hours here last Saturday reading and the word of the day was 'silence'. With the librarian, a few other patrons, and myself in the library, you could literally have heard a pin drop. You would never, ever guess that you were a stone's throw from Fountain Square. In fact, you would probably never guess that you were in the city. The library is not stuffy, however. They encourage eating your lunch there and on Saturday, I did. I also did a bit of exploring and poked around a bit.

They had some amazing, very old busts of some famous folks. Below are only a few of what they had on display.

 (George Washington)

 (Charles Dickens)

 (Abraham Lincoln)

(Bell from the U.S.S Cincinnati)

The Mercantile library also has a full-service collection which is quite large for the square footage it takes up. Let's just say they use their space quite efficiently.

(Fiction lower, nonfiction upper)

(Wasn't entirely sure what these materials were)

(Unique aisle markers)


Overall, this place is awesome. I can see myself spending a great deal of time here in the future. The atmosphere is amazing for reading and it can be a nice reprieve from what is happening eleven floors below. I would recommend everyone to go at least give it a look, even if you aren't interested in a membership. It is one of the truly unique places in Cincinnati and I am so happy I was led that direction.

More information can be found at:


  1. Love the Mercantile! I feel like a kid in a candy store there. A very quiet candy store.

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