History of Dover Free Public Library
For over one hundred and fifty years, libraries have served the town of Dover -- though they haven't always been part of town government or supported by public money. The earliest libraries in Dover, as in so many other old colonial towns, were begun by private groups and individuals who hoped to make books and information more easily accessible to the people of their area. Photo of Dover Free Public Library, circa 1911
Dover Free Public Library, circa 1911
During the summer of 1832, William Young set up a small bookcase in one of the corners of his family's bakery on Dickerson Street. A few days before, some members of a local group called the Sons of Temperance had asked if they might use the space to offer a few books and other tracts for public circulation. Because the letters S. of T. were etched into the top of the case that William placed in the little shop, it soon became known as the "Soft Library."
The Young family kept the library going until 1888, when it moved into the Ives Stationary Store on East Blackwell Street as a subscription library.
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