The Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County
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March 2003

Special Collections & Indexes—Book Collections

The Library’s vast book collections contain many smaller, specialized collections in addition to those shelved in the Rare Books & Special Collections Department. These collections have been carefully built over the decades and reflect the expertise and dedication of many staff members.

Some of these collections were made possible by generous gifts, bequests, and trusts from members of the community, many more than we can possibly name here. For information about how you can establish such a gift, visit Support the Library.

Most of these collections are housed at the Main Library, but materials from many are available for circulation through the branches. Infofax service is also available.

Adult New Reader/English as a Second Language Collections

The Adult New Reader Collection is designed to aid adults who need assistance with their reading and writing skills; it includes workbooks, grammar aids, and light fiction and nonfiction on a variety of subjects. Topics range from health care, sports, history, and geography, to job skills, hobbies, and handling money. The English as a Second Language Collection is comprised of grammar books, special picture dictionaries, information on U.S. citizenship, and study manuals for those preparing to take the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language). This material is popular with literacy tutors, as well as newer immigrants to the Greater Cincinnati area.
Literature & Languages Department

Birds Of North America: Life Histories for the 21st Century

From Birds of America, No. 45, 1993

This massive project of the American Ornithologists’ Union and the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia was begun in 1992 and will contain 720 fascicles (separately published book sections) when completed, the most comprehensive compendium of information in existence on North American birds. The Science & Technology Department is proud to be one of the few public library repositories for this collection. The resource contains maps, photographs, charts, diagrams, and a fully referenced text that includes distinguishing characteristics, distribution, habitat, sounds, behavior, measurements, etc., on each bird. Biologists, ecologists, land managers, and bird enthusiasts of all levels will benefit from the information available in this multi-volume guide.
Science & Technology Department

Braille Books

see Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped

City Directories

The History & Genealogy Department holds a wide range of city directories from all over the United States and for many different years, including copies of Cincinnati directories dating back to 1819.
History & Genealogy Department

Contemporary Artists’ Books

Artists Tracts: Five Collaborative Letterpress Triptychs

The Artists’ Book Collection focuses on contemporary books made by local, national and international artists and gives the community the opportunity to experience the “book as art.” The Plaut Fund, established in 1968 to create a collection of artist’s books, is a primary source of funding for this collection. From 1930 until 1959 Mrs. Plaut served as Head of the Art and Music Department. Under her leadership, volumes of rare and important works, along with materials devoted to that era’s trends in modern art, were added to the department’s collection. The Artists’ Book Collection continues to grow through additional purchases made by the Friends of the Public Library and donations made by book artists and others.
Art & Music Department

Cookbook Collection

Looking for a good cookbook? The Science & Technology Department offers a wide range of cookbooks for every taste and level of expertise. The collection of more than 12,000 books spans the early nineteenth century through the present and includes many of the classics. Whether you are looking for ethnic cooking, biographies of your favorite chef, methods of cooking, special diets, or specific recipes, the cookbook collection has many titles in each area from which to choose. Science & Technology Department also maintains an index file of unusual and frequently requested recipes.
Science & Technology Department

Directory Services Collection

This collection offers access to virtually every current business and residential telephone book available in the United States. The collection also has selected directories from around the world.
Government & Business Department

Fairy Tale Collection

Fairy Tales from Many Lands illustrated by Arthur Rackham

The Children’s Learning Center has an extensive collection of fairy tales, from classic collections of the Brother’s Grimm, Hans Christian Andersen, and Andrew Lang’s colored fairy books series to folk tales and fables from around the globe. Many books are noteworthy for their illustrations by classic or contemporary artists. In addition to the classic tales, a large selection of “fractured” fairy tales is available.
Children’s Learning Center

Foreign Fiction Collection

The collection of fiction in foreign languages dates back to the Library’s beginnings. It was originally strongest in Western European languages, especially German, because of the city’s predominantly German heritage. Immigration trends in the area have continued to influence the composition of this collection: in the past three decades, large selections of Vietnamese, Thai, Spanish, Chinese, Russian, and Hindi fiction have been added, as well as titles in several other languages. Some of those books were donated by generous citizens and community groups. Today the collection of 11,000 novels and short story collections in 39 foreign languages includes popular and classic fiction written in the original languages as well as translations of American, British, and other world literatures. Several of the Library’s branches display small collections of foreign fiction in the languages of most interest to their neighborhoods’ clientele. In addition to these adult fiction collections, a children’s collection of picture books, novels, and nonfiction works in 32 languages is housed in the Children’s Learning Center. Many books are bilingual or in multiple languages. Translations of Harry Potter, for example, can be found in French, German, Portuguese, and Spanish.
Literature & Languages Department, Children’s Learning Center

Jean Alva Goldsmith Collection

From A Child’s Garden of Verses by Robert Louis Stevenson

The family of Jean Alva Goldsmith donated her book collection to the Library when she died in 1929 at the age of seven. Since then, funds from the trust established in her name have been used to amass a treasure trove of the finest examples of children’s literature.
Children’s Learning Center

Grants Resource Center

The center consists of information sources to help nonprofit organizations identify and pursue funding options. It is a cooperating collection of the Foundation Center, a national nonprofit service organization, and it includes national, local, and subject directories; indexes; tax returns; and other materials on charitable foundations, as well as handbooks on grants research and proposal development. Orientation sessions explaining foundations, proposals, and the use of the materials in the Grants Resource Center are offered by the Library on a regular basis for representatives of nonprofit organizations.
Education & Religion Department

High School and College Yearbook Collection

Packed with photographs, yearbooks are fascinating records of a century of Cincinnati life and are of interest to historians and genealogists. The Library has over 1,000 yearbooks and alumni directories. The oldest high school yearbooks in the collection are those for Walnut Hills (1902) and Woodward (1904). Among the oldest college yearbooks are those for Ohio State (1888), Denison (1906), and Miami University (1908). This collection has been built almost entirely through donations.
Education & Religion Department

Jobs Information Center Collection

The Job Information Center is devoted to all facets of job and career information resources. Books about job searching, resume and cover letter writing, interviewing, and career information are located here, as are examination preparation books such as those for the armed services, civil service, law school, and business graduate school. The Job Information Center offers regular classes in the areas of career development, resume writing, and other related topics.
Government & Business Department

Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Collection

The goal for this memorial collection is to be a comprehensive source of writings and speeches by and about the life, times, and society of Martin Luther King, Jr. It has been funded by the Martin Luther King, Jr., Coalition trust fund since 1999.
Government & Business Department

Large Print Books

The Library has one of the largest collections of large print books in the country. Fiction and nonfiction adult titles are housed in the Outreach Services Department at the Main Library; juvenile and teen titles are housed in the Children’s Learning Center and the Fiction & Young Adults Department, respectively. Large print titles are available at many Library branches as well. Outreach Services delivers large print titles to homebound patrons through the mail, by delivery truck to nursing homes and other senior housing facilities, and sends deposit collections to many library branch locations.
Outreach Services Department

Lenke Collection for Insurance Industry Reference and Research

The Lenke Collection provides a wide scope of information on the insurance industry for users ranging from professional agents to first-time buyers.
Government & Business Department

Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped

The Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped is one of the regional libraries instituted by Congress to provide national library service to the blind and physically handicapped; it is administered by Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County and housed at Main. Its special collections include books on cassette tape and in Braille for people who cannot read print because of a visual or physical handicap. The collection has approximately 13,500 Braille titles and 42,000 cassette titles that span a wide variety of fiction and nonfiction books as well as magazines for all ages. Audio-described videos are currently being added to the collection.
Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped

Local Church History Collection

The Library is always pleased to receive gifts of histories of local churches, and the Education & Religion Department has many such histories for churches large and small, representing many denominations and faith communities.
Education & Religion Department

Thomas Merton Collection

A gift from a private individual has enabled the Library continuously to add to its collection of books by and about Thomas Merton (1915–1968), Trappist monk, mystic, writer, social critic, and one of the most famous American Roman Catholics of the twentieth century. The collection, which is incorporated into the general Education and Religion holdings, now numbers over 160 volumes.
Education & Religion Department

Pet Memorial Collection

Our Library is believed to have been the first—and for many years the only—library with a Pet Memorial Fund. This special fund was started in 1960 as a lasting way to remember a beloved pet. Donations to the fund allow the Library to purchase books or videos about pets and pet care for the Main Library and branch libraries. Each item is specially marked with a gift plate inscribed with the name of the pet and the donor. Donor and pet names are also recorded in a memorial book kept on display in the Main Library Atrium.
Science & Technology Department

Railroad Research Collection

Cincinnati Streetcars: No. 10 to the End of the Track by Richard M. Wagner

This subject collection offers social, economic, political, geographic and historic perspectives on local, national and foreign railroads. Subjects covered in the collection range from tips on diner car etiquette, to issues of federal regulation, to the environmental impact of the Chunnel. The focus and scope of this collection offers unsurpassed access to the topics of trains and railroads for all levels of interest.
Government & Business Department

Science Fair Project Collection

The Science & Technology Department collects science fair project materials for grade seven through high school. This extensive collection includes historical and current indexes as well as titles that cover step-by-step instructions to particular experiments. Materials for younger students are indexed in the Science Project Index maintained by the Children’s Learning Center.
Science & Technology Department

Murray Seasongood Collection of Government, Law and Public Administration

The papers of Murray Seasongood are the core of this collection of works devoted to the study of municipal government. The collection contains over 1,500 volumes focused on urban reform. Topics include traffic, parking and public transportation, police and fire departments, and city pension funds. Related subjects range from Cincinnati neighborhood planning studies to theories of urban politics and policy analysis in local government. Financial support of the collection comes from the Martha S. Stern Fund.
Government & Business Department

Small Business Reference and Research Collection

This collection is devoted to providing businesses—nonprofit or commercial—with information needed to overcome the obstacles of starting a new enterprise. Information on the management, planning, finance and legal aspects of starting a small business, as well as information on industry and market analysis, is provided. The collection has been financed since 1999 with a trust fund established by the Service Corps of Retired Executives (SCORE), Chapter 34.
Government & Business Department

Theological and Religious Collection

The books from a private subscription library, founded in 1863 by a group of Cincinnati ministers and teachers, were donated to the Library in 1914 and are now integrated into the religion collection. An endowment fund was also transferred and has enabled the department to expand and update its holdings on theology and missions. Many of the books still exhibit their original Theological and Religious Library bookplates and bear such titles as A Constructive Basis for Theology (1914) and Theology and the Social Consciousness (1902). Some of the volumes are in German (e.g., Die Grundlehren der Christlichen Dogmatik, [1819]) or French (e.g., Histoire de la Théologie Chrétienne au Siècle Apostolique [1852]).
Education & Religion Department

Valerio Collection

The family of A.J. Valerio, a noted Cincinnati attorney active in Italian cultural affairs, established the A.J. Valerio Italian Art, Music, and Literature collection after his death in 1971, and their support has substantially increased the Library’s holdings in the Italian arts. Emphasis is on the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, with titles on individual artists such as Michelangelo, Raphael, Caravaggio, etc., but there are also a number of titles on the twentieth century, as well as general works on Italian arts. The fund also supports the addition of classic works in Italian, including handsome editions of Dante, Petrarch, and Boccacio, to the Literature & Language Department’s collection.
Art & Music Department, Literature & Languages Department