We received an interesting donation today from the Rumney, NH library. It is a printed catalog of all the books owned by the Dover Public Library in 1891. Instead of looking in a computer or card catalog, you would look up the book you wanted in this book. Anybody interested in reading "Ninevah & its remains; with an account of a visit to the Chaldean Christians of Kurdistan, & the Yezidis, or devil worshipers; & an enquiry into the manners and arts of the Ancient Assyrians"? Other page-turners include "Tobacco. Its history and associations", and "Bird-nesting. A handbook of instruction in gathering and preserving the nests and eggs of birds for the purposes of study". I wonder if those books were as popular as the John Grisham and Jodi Piccoult books we carry now.
I also enjoyed looking at the stilted, formal rules of the Library. " Any resident of Dover, and those residing out of Dover who are by law entitled to the benefits of the Library, having signed a promise to obey the rules established by the Trustees, and having given satisfactory references as to his good character and responsibility, may take books from the Library and occupy the Reading Room." Look below to read up on the other rules you would have had to obey in 1891.