1899 Ovid’s first library, called the Ovid Free Library, was granted a provisional charter by the Board of Regents of the University of the State of New York. The Library’s first location was inside of the Ovid Gazette newspaper office.
1905 The Ovid Free Library moved to the historic Mama Bear building, which housed the library for sixty years.
1912 The library’s provisional charter was replaced with an absolute charter from the NYS Department of Education.
1948 Libbie Kinnan became Assistant Librarian in 1948 and worked for the library for the rest of her life; through 1961.
1961/62 The current library building was built with a gift and endowment from Dr. Walter Ford. The library’s name was formally changed from Ovid Free Library to Edith B. Ford Memorial Library. Members of the Ovid-Willard Lions Club passed the books in bucket-brigade fashion from Mama Bear to the library’s new home at 7169 Main Street. Hal & Roberta Morris became the Co-Librarians in 1961, and remained in that role through 1998.
1998 Eilene Moeri, MLS became the Library Director. She graduated from Rutgers University with a Masters degree in Library Science.
1999 The library was named the fourth-best small rural library in the U.S. by the American Library Association.
2007-2009 The Library was successful in raising over $300,000 in its “A Place for New Possibilities” Capital Campaign. This renovated the basement level of the library.
2009 Eilene Moeri lost her battle with liver cancer. She will be fondly remembered by the community for her welcoming smile and caring attitude.
2009 Shannon O’Connor became the Library Director. She graduated with a Masters degree in Education from Elmira College.
2016 Fundraising began for the $3.2 million dollar Growing with Our Community Capital Campaign.
2019 Ribbon cutting ceremony for the new building, which doubled the size of the library.
2021 Andrea Tillinghast, MLS became the Library Director. She graduated from the University at Buffalo, State University of NY with a Masters degree in Library Science.
Edith Banker Ford - A Biography...
Edith Banker Ford was born in Ovid, New York, on July 24, 1875, the eldest child of John DeMott Banker and Elizabeth Losey Banker. The John Banker farm was located about one mile east of Ovid. Edith W. Banker spent her childhood in Ovid, graduating near the top of her class at Ovid High School in June of 1892. This photo was made around that time.
In addition to farming, Edith’s father was a professional auctioneer and prominent citizen in Ovid and Seneca County politics in the 1880s and early 1900s. He encouraged his eldest daughter’s ambition to become a school teacher. Edith entered the State Normal School at Oneonta, New York, in the fall of 1892. She did well in her studies toward her desired career. She also fell in love with her future husband, an Oneonta native named Walter Burton Ford.
Their romance was a long one. During the eight years between falling in love and getting married, Edith Banker graduated from Oneonta, attended Radcliffe College, and became a schoolteacher in New Britain, Connecticut. Her sweetheart, Walter Ford, graduated from Oneonta, attended Amherst College, graduated with honors from Harvard University in the class of 1897, and pursued a career in teaching mathematics–with numerous disappointments.
Finally, in the fall of 1900, the now Dr. Ford received an appointment as instructor in mathematics at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor. This meant that the long-awaited marriage to Edith was finally possible. They were married on October 25, 1900, at the Banker farm in Ovid. The newlyweds left for Ann Arbor immediately after the wedding, and Ann Arbor remained their home for the next 40 years. Every summer they returned to Ovid to visit Edith’s family. In 1908 Walter made his first purchase of property near Elm Beach on the shore of Cayuga Lake.
In 1939 the couple retired. The next year they moved from Ann Arbor back to Ovid, to the home which they had built on their property during the years just prior to returning. Here they lived during their years of retirement.
The Edith B. Ford Memorial Library is a gift to the people of Ovid, made by Walter following the 1959 death of his wife, as a lasting memorial to her and for the benefit and use of all the citizens of Ovid.