In September of 1919, the then Draper Self-Culture Club decided they wanted to establish a reading room in Dayton. Initially, two rooms were rented in the Ankeny Building (now the State Farm Insurance Building on First and Main), and the Draper Club purchased magazine subscriptions for it. As public interest increased, they decided to pursue the goal of creating a library in Dayton.
Over the course of several years, the members of the Draper Club — later re-named the Elizabeth Forrest-Day Club — pursued various means of fundraising. In the years after the fall of 1919, the E.F.D. Club purchased a lot on the corner of 3rd Street and Clay. They did not yet have enough to begin building, however.
In 1927, funds were secured for reading rooms at the Odd Fellows Hall (also known as the Fraternity Building), and the E.F.D. ladies worked to catalogue donated books and to work in the Reading Room. The ladies of the E.F.D. club, impatient to have the library underway, opened the Reading Rooms to the pubic.
By the 1930s, public interest for the establishment of a library was beginning to wane. In 1933, the tireless E.F.D. Club considered the option of turning the lot deed and the monies in the Library Fund over to the City. In doing so, they could attain the necessary labor to begin building.
In 1935, the City Council of Dayton voted to accept the lot and monies accrued by the Elizabeth Forrest-Day Club, and construction began on the library building.
The Dayton Memorial Library was built as a Public Works Project, and finished in 1937. The Library doors were opened to the public that October. In 1942, however, the Dayton residents realized they needed a community room of some kind where people could go to visit, ‘sit a spell,’ and use for meetings. Later, Henry and Alice Delany, a Tucannon-area farming couple willed a trust fund for the creation of such a building. In 1970, the construction of the Delany Room began, and the addition to the library was completed in 1974.
A brick building featuring art deco style ceiling tiles and beautiful, romanesque arched windows, the Dayton Memorial Library is a testament to the dedication and love of the many people who helped to make a library in Dayton a reality.