History of Dover Free Public 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.
In 1901, a women's society called the Octagon Club took over the library (to "improve their minds") and established it in a room in the old Presbyterian Church at the corner of Blackwell and Prospect Streets, which they were allowed to use rent-free. Originally, the ladies of the club had rotated the duties of librarian. However, when this system proved unsatisfactory, Miss Harriet Breese was hired as Dover's first librarian.
The Dover Public Library Association was formed by the club members during 1902, and continued to operate the library on a subscription basis for the next two years. In the election of 1904, the narrow margin of 55 votes proved enough and the Dover Free Public Library finally became a fully-supported public institution.
With 1,500 books, some of which it owned and others that were part of a traveling library from Trenton, free service to the town of Dover began. Quickly becoming an essential part of the community that it served, the library gave space and offered help to many cultural, civic, and public-service groups in the area. The people of Dover were generous as well, donating books and volunteering their time in an effort to assure that the struggling institution would succeed.
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