Lloyd Library and Museum

It’s Day 313 of “365 Things to do in Cincinnati” and today we’re featuring The Lloyd Library and Museum.

lloyd library cincinnati

The Lloyd Library is housed in a downtown building with an obvious “1970’s vibe”.  But don’t let that ordinary brick exterior fool you.  Inside you’ll find an amazing wealth of Cincinnati history, world history, plant history and an amazing stash of botanical books dating all the way back to the 1400’s.

lloyd library cincinnati

The Lloyd Library started in a building right next to the current structure.  The library was actually a by-product of sorts of the Lloyd brothers’ pharmaceutical business in the late 1800’s.  The Lloyd brothers were pharmacists (in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s) who worked primarily with herbal remedies.  They needed research materials to continue their work in medicinal products.  The number of books grew and grew and they eventually amassed nearly 100,000 volumes.

lloyd library cincinnati

This library may have started with a family’s quest for knowledge but it grew into a wonderful resource for future generations to come.  The youngest brother, Curtis Lloyd, had a strong interest in photography and travel.  His expeditions provided numerous books for the library (there was no Amazon back then!) as well as incredible glimpses into the world via his photos.  Curtis was also an avid botanical photographer, documenting many varieties of mushrooms (as you’ll see in the picture below).  Curtis never married and his trust (established in 1917) is what continues to keep the Lloyd Library open to the public for generations to come.

lloyd library cincinnati

The Lloyd Library has a display case which holds an amazing amount of Lloyd family history.  Among the three brothers, these men were accomplished pharmacists as well as part owner in the Cincinnati Reds, world travelers, photographers, and accomplished authors.  To anyone interested in Cincinnati history, the displays cases alone are worth a trip to the Lloyd Library.

lloyd library cincinnati
picture taken in Over the Rhine
lloyd library cincinnati

The Lloyd Library now has over 200,000 volumes.   The first floor is open to the public.  The other floors contain all of the books and archives for the library.  Those materials can be retrieved for you by library staff.  They have an amazing online catalog (link below) of the library’s contents.  You can do your research online, finding books you’d like to see  and then you can email (or call) them with your list and they will pull them and have them ready for you when you visit.  Now that’s service!

The Lloyd Library hosts a number of rotating exhibits.  When I visited I caught the tail end of “The Chocolate Connection” (see picture 3 above).  The upcoming/current exhibit is “World Travelers” and features some of the pictures of Curtis Lloyd’s world travels.  Curtis’ pictures show an amazing glimpse into the Jamaica and Trinidad region.  The pictures are accompanied by cards with descriptions written by Curtis, detailing the subjects as he saw them.  The World Travelers Exhibit will be at the Lloyd Library April 23 through July 29, 2011.

lloyd library cincinnati

The Lloyd Library is free and open to the public.  However, this is not a public library – it is closed stacks and does not provide services like public computers, wi-fi or copy services.  They have a very limited number of books in the shelves that are open to the public BUT they will retrieve books for you and have them ready for your visit.  I would highly recommend you look through their offerings at the website – it’s incredible!  You can request to have books pulled for you via email or by phone.

The Lloyd Library has an incredible online catalog: click here to view

The Lloyd Library and Museum is located at 917 Plum Street downtown.
Metered parking is available on the street and various parking lots are available as well.

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