The Dayton Literary Society was founded in February of 1881, with Isaac Green as President, Charles Green as Secretary and Harry Green as Librarian. Harry was the librarian because the library, all one hundred volumes of it, was housed at his store. You paid a monthly fee and then you could borrow any book. This label, found in every book, listed some of the rules governing the library:
ART. 4. The Time of Keeping a Book shall be Two Weeks, and any person failing to return said book inside the specified time, shall be fined the sum of 5 cts. for each day until returned. Also, any person returning a book unnecessarily soiled, shall be fined the sum of 10 cts.
ART. 6. The Librarian shall not issue Books to any person who is known to be in arrears of monthly dues or fines.
ART. 7. No person shall be allowed more than ONE Book at a time.
Unfortunately, no record of the complete “Rules to Govern Library” has survived. Did it contain guidelines for what books to include? Were books purchased, or donated from town residents? What was the most popular subject matter?