Side A: The Milford Public Library, Clermont County’s oldest continuously operating library, was founded in 1900 by a local civic organization, the Milford Village Improvement Society. It was preceded by a circulating library–one that charges patrons for renting books–that was chartered in 1822. At the time of the Milford Public Library’s founding, circulating libraries were in decline and public libraries were increasing in number as an inexpensive alternative. To obtain support for their proposed “reading room,” the Society’s Literary Committee travelled door-to-door, soliciting members and books. To become a member of the library, adults paid 25 cents and children paid 10 cents in annual dues. The library’s first–and current–home is the stone building at 19 Water Street. (Continued on other side)
Side B: (Continued from other side) In its early years, the library struggled financially and was forced to relocate to a rent-free space in the town hall. In 1919, Dr. Richard C. Belt purchased the building at 19 Water Street, and, once space became available, the library returned to its original home. Upon Belt’s passing in 1930, he left the building in trust to the Milford Public Library under the condition that it continue to use the building as a library, otherwise it would be donated to a local Episcopal church. As of 2019, the library, also known as the Milford Mystery Library, operates as a non-profit independent public library, staffed by volunteers, with a focus on mysteries.