About the Library 

Established in 1846 by civic leaders and philanthropists, the Mercantile exists today as a vibrant community and cultural asset. It is the oldest library west of the Mississippi and the grandparent of St. Louis cultural institutions.

The task of the Mercantile Library as a research library is to make its collections, which have come to concentrate on Western Expansion and the history, development, and growth of the St. Louis region and of the American rail and river transportation experiences, available to the widest number of local and national users.

If you have any questions or would like to learn more, call 314-516-7240.

Tours of the Mercantile Library

Get more out of your visit to the Mercantile Library visit with a free, docent-led tour, every Saturday at 11:00 am and Sunday at 2:00 pm.  No reservations are necessary for our public tours.  Free group tours can also be arranged for other times; please call 314-516-7248 or email for details. The Thomas Jefferson Library building may be closed at certain times of the year.  Please check our hours page for more information.

Click to view the St. Louis Mercantile Library Staff's Love Letter to the St. Louis Community.