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Old 02-24-2009, 12:21 PM
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Cincinnati, Ohio, U.S.A.
Posts: 1,551
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*RE: Rare Books/Inland Rivers collection.*
Hi, Judy & steamboating colleagues:
Good questions above and I'll try my best to relate my visit yesterday to the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County [PLOCH for short]. It was late in the day and many of the usual office staff etc. were preparing to leave at 5:00 PM. The former 'Rare Books/Inland Rivers Collection' is still in the same location on the 3rd floor in the new wing. The library is now one huge complex having undergone modernization, rebuilding and reorganization. The 'Cincinnati' section still houses all of the collection as before along with expanded services for genealogy which is now a much-visited venue. The staff were kind with us talking before I strolled through seeing the previously mentioned display on the rivers with maps, charts, rare volumes and Capt. Fred Way's fine photo.

Many volumes, research materials etc. are now out in the browsing/reading area for general use and it's extensive running many feet of shelf space. I examined the bound volumes of WATERWAYS JOURNALS, S&D REFLECTORS, STEAMBOAT BILL etc. Some of the rarer books are available but have blue 'digital tabs' so they can't be spirited out through the security doors on the main floor. The collection available is most extensive with books going way back. It was 'spooky' taking many down and seeing the autographs inside from Capts. Fred Way, Donald T. Wright, Alan Bates etc. etc. As mentioned the fine GORDON C. GREENE, J.T. HATFIELD, last ISLAND QUEEN models on display. If the fine large painting by Capt. Jesse P. Hughes is there I must have missed it with limited time. The staff seem very warm and ready to answer questions/provide materials. Surprised to see a number of high school/college students/adults swarming around using the books along with a zillion computer stations all over linked to the collections in each section.

Traditional card files are not to be found now with the use of computers. It takes time navigating around the building compared to what I recalled just a few years ago. The library master plan has been in operation and apparently is smoothing out--but not without some birthing pains. On the main floor can be viewed the fine photo mural of the Cincinnati Panorama of 1848 by Fontane and Porter with all the steamboats lined up from that time. The original photo plates I believe are away still undergoing an intensive restoration process. The huge bell from the U.S. Navy ship USS CINCINNATI reposes on the main floor as you walk in.

Library card holders here now are automatically sent library web site messages via E=Mail on current displays, news and collections. Again, a visit is worth the time and takes time. For those interested you may type in your search engines Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County and hit GO to gain access. I believe a number of steamboat photos are available via that. *Strange. I also had computer problems here yesterday too. Must have been something in the atmosphere.

Well, what do I know?

Coal Haven Landing, Ohio River.
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