1. Visit Cincinnati’s public library
We have a stellar public library system in Cincinnati—and the awards to prove it. Photographs of the old main location are enough to break any book-lover’s heart, but the library in modern times offers 41 locations around Hamilton County, including the main library downtown. Plus, a virtual library of downloadable books, music, movies, and more that is always at the ready—so when you finish that really good book in the wee hours of the morning, the next in the series is only a few clicks away. (Wait, you don’t have a library card? Remedy that immediately. Free books, music, and movies, people!)
The Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County, 800 Vine St., downtown, cincinnatilibrary.org
2. Shop at an independent bookstore
Love having that bookstore right around the corner? Well it’s up to you, dear customer, to keep them there. Support your local bookstores to ensure their survival by buying your books there, rather than at a big retailer. Staff members are dedicated to their books and always stand ready with recommendations. Check out The Booksellers on Fountain Square (read our take here) for books, gifts, and their café; Duttenhofer’s for used and rare books that overflow with charm and character; or Queen City Comics for comics, cards, and collectables.
The Booksellers on Fountain Square, 505 Vine St., downtown, booksellersonfountainsquare.com; Duttenhofer’s Books, 214 W. McMillan St., Clifton, duttenhofers.com; Queen City Comics, 6101 Montgomery Rd., Pleasant Ridge, queencitycomics.com
3. Share the love: donate your books
Love of books can easily lead to hoarding of books (I’m guilty). So join the powers of National Reading Month and spring-cleaning time to clean out your shelves and make room for new arrivals by donating your books to a worthy cause. Adopt a Book will take your gently used children’s books and deliver them to kids in need. The Friends of the Public Library will take nearly any donations (the nonprofit regularly sells donated materials to help fund their work—like community, education, and literacy programming), and they have drop-off locations conveniently located in each public library branch.
Adopt a Book, adoptabookohio.org; Friends of the Public Library, 8456 Vine St., Hartwell, friends.cincinnatilibrary.org
4. Volunteer with Friends of the Public Library
Want to do more than donate old books? Help others get into the reading spirit and rack up some good book karma by volunteering in the Friends’ shop at the main library, in the warehouse, or at book sales. It all helps build literacy in our city—and a strong library.
Friends of the Public Library, 8456 Vine St., Hartwell, friends.cincinnatilibrary.org
5. Attend a reading
Joseph-Beth Booksellers frequently hosts authors and other literature-loving events. And for the little ones, the Cincinnati location also has story time for kids every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday morning. This week, stop into the shop for discussions with New York Times bestselling author Kostya Kennedy and Tony Hillerman Prize–Winner Tricia Fields. Or, spend Friday with poet C.K. Williams as he reflects on poems that have inspired him at the University of Cincinnati.
Joseph-Beth Booksellers, 2692 Madison Road, Norwood, josephbeth.com