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414 Walnut St. 11th Story
Cincinnati, OH 45202

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The Mercantile Library is temporarily relocating its staff and some books to a “Mini-Merc” in the Fifth Third Center on Fountain Square. The move is part of a planned renovation and expansion of the Library’s current space.

Any closure is inconvenient, but in order to make these changes responsibly, affordably, and most important, more timely, it makes sense to vacate the place,” said John Faherty, the Warner-Huguenin Executive Director of the Library.

“We are incredibly grateful to Fifth Third for providing us with an elegant solution for our members and staff, the last time we moved out was 1902,” he added.

The Library will close for the Winter holidays Saturday, December 23, and reopen Thursday, January 4, 2024, in the Mini-Merc on Fountain Square.

“Members will be able to borrow and return books at the Mini-Merc. And thanks to some of our very good friends in the community, we’ll have spaces for our events,” Faherty said.

Events and programs will be in locations around the city, such as Cincinnati Museum Center, and the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber of Commerce.

The Library, founded in 1835, has been at 414 Walnut Street since 1840, and has occupied the 11th story of The Mercantile Library Building since 1904. It will expand to include the entirety of the 12th story. The 11thStory will undergo minor renovations to make it easier to navigate and more welcoming.

The project will include a new lounge space that can convert to a 100-person lecture hall, writers’ stations and quiet booths, a haiku and poetry room, additional restrooms, and more than 2,000 linear feet of shelving.

The Library already has raised $3.6 million for the expansion, including a $1 million gift from the Warner-Huguenin families that provides an endowment for the executive directorship.

Drawing Department and Trade 31 will begin construction on the 6,500-square-foot expansion in January 2024, with a projected completion in late summer 2024. The project also will allow the Library to make technological improvements to better serve its members and the 7,500 guests who come to the Library each year for author talks and other programming.

The Library has outgrown its space in every way. With more than 2,100 members and 80,000 titles, the Library’s workspaces and shelves are overflowing. The Library organizes more than 200 events each year, including lectures, movie nights, and book discussions.

Planning for the 12th Story expansion began in 2022, when The Model Group purchased The Mercantile Library building and the adjoining Mercantile Center. The Model Group is converting the building to residential units.

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