Cincinnati’s Mercantile Library has Christmas tree with a twist

December 6, 2018 by  

Since 1853, the Mercantile Library has been an intellectual center for residents of Cincinnati, and now they have put their own twist on Christmas. The twist is a literary one: they have used old books to make a Christmas tree.

The library began the tradition, which is the brainchild of Amy Hunter, the library’s literary programs and marketing manager, in 2016. She said that since that first tree was built, the structural design has been improved dramatically. She added she’s always wanted to build a tree made of books, and that she’s a bookworm, like most library workers.

The tree, she noted, is made from books that were “deaccessioned” from the library’s collection, meaning they were removed to make space for new books. Hunter said that books that are of literary, cultural, and historic value remain on the shelves, and some books are kept in storage for the specific purpose of using them to build the tree. Facilities like this can work with a flyer printing company to create a newsletter about available materials for library patrons.

Four members of the library staff, and one volunteer who was found on social media, carried out the tree project this year. The tree appears to be made of circles of books that diminish in size as they increase in height. Ribbons cascade down the tree from the top but there are no lights on the structure.