Here we are with another installment of “365 Things to do in Cincinnati” and today we are featuring a few of The Andrew Carnegie Library branches here in Cincinnati.
Cincinnati is fortunate to have a number of Carnegie Libraries. These libraries were all built in the early 1900’s with funds from Andrew Carnegie – entrepreneur, philanthropist and owner of U.S. Steel.
Carnegie.org has this to say about Andrew Carnegie’s philanthropy:
Andrew Carnegie’s philanthropic career began around 1870. He is best known for his gifts of free public library buildings. His first such gift was to his native Dunfermline in 1881, and it was followed by similar gifts to 2,509 communities in the English-speaking world.
I visited three of the Carnegie Library branches today – Walnut Hills, Corryville and Avondale. I’ve had some trouble determining just how many Carnegie Libraries are still in Cincinnati. From what I can tell, there are a total of 7 libraries – the three I mentioned above plus branches in Price Hill, Norwood, Northside, and Hyde Park. It seems that there were more Carnegie Libraries built in our area but, for today, I’m focusing on the buildings that are still libraries.
Each Carnegie Library has its own unique touches. Every one we saw today was full of elaborate details. Above you’ll see the stained glass lighted dome that sits above the circulation desk at the Corryville branch.
Leading into the Avondale Carnegie Library you’ll find the most amazing Rookwood tile pieces. The picture above is a list of authors surrounded by elaborate floral motifs – all Rookwood Pottery. The pictures below are all from the Avondale branch as well.
It seems that Carnegie did require a few things from each of his libraries. Among other things, each branch was required to have a separate child’s room and adult room. Most have a central circulation desk with these individual rooms surrounding them. A few of our branches have glass/windowed separations.
Each branch that we visited today had me completely mesmerized. Created in a day when wood carvings and ceiling ornamentation was “the norm”, these buildings were not only created to house books, these libraries were architectural masterpieces. We are lucky to still have them today!
These libraries all are part of the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County