In Photos: Cincinnati’s impressive ‘Old Main’ public library


It’s very difficult, not impossible, but takes extraordinary re-engineering.

Look at the picture of the pages; that child labor was used to fetch books for patrons.

Libraries aren’t, and never were, simply reading rooms, those rooms being easy enough to create in older spaces. It’s a classic mistake to assume the public features of a building are its whole function.

Perhaps with hundreds of millions of dollars a robot able to retrieve books from the stacks could be built into an old opera house in 2014, but not in the 1950s.

The old opera house makes for nice photos, but I see why it’s continued use as a library was considered a problem. (Now if you’re saying they could have used the entire opera as the reading space and built separate, but easily accessible stacks, that’s possible, but I don’t know the situation in Cincinnati in the 1950s.)

So no.

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