Milford’s Mystery Library Is a Delightful Hidden Gem

Book lovers, history buffs, and curious kids can all find something worth exploring at this specialized library.
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Photograph by Sarah McCosham

Hermione Granger said it best: “When in doubt, go to the library.”

While I am all for e-readers and digital media (ahem, like the article you’re currently reading on your iPhone), there’s nothing quite like to a trip to the library. The colorful shelves packed with endless adventures and possibilities. The feel of a tangible text that’s been lovingly wrapped in a smooth library cover. The smell of the books—fellow bibliophiles will know what I mean. Going to the library is an experience, and always, always a good idea. Especially if you have kids.

While we adore our local branch of the Cincinnati & Hamilton County Public Library, there’s a hidden gem in Old Milford that’s a fun change of pace. It’s the Milford Mystery Library, and it’s delightful.

This independent little library is exactly as it sounds: a curated collection of thrillers, mysteries, and whodunnits. This library boutique is run entirely by volunteers; Agatha Christie lovers who revere the written—and printed—word. It’s small and tucked away in an old stone building, which creates an air of history and mystery of which Ms. Christie would certainly approve. (Ms. Christie would also approve of Layla, the “shop pup” that greets guests with a nuzzle and, if you’re lucky, permission to sit and administer endless belly rubs.)

Photograph by Sarah McCosham

Full disclaimer: my mom is one of the volunteers who runs the Milford Mystery Library. She is a retired librarian and she’s found renewed purpose—and a community of like-minded, library-loving locals—at this place. So call me biased, but as an English major and full-time writer, I adore the Milford Mystery Library just as much as its volunteers, because it’s one of those only-in-Cincinnati spots that make up the unique patchwork of our city.

The Milford Mystery Library is a throwback to a bygone era; a time when card catalogues were organized by the Dewey decimal system. It’s also a reminder of that glorious pre-pandemic time when libraries provided endless entertainment for book lovers, newspaper readers, and even beleaguered parents. We’ll get back there, someday. But for now, this little library is the perfect little place to visit; a real-life history—and mystery—lesson for us all.

Photograph by Sarah McCosham

The Milford Mystery Library is open four days a week: Saturdays and Wednesdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Thursdays and Fridays from 2 to 5 p.m. It’s free to join, and the library frequently hosts sales stocked with children’s titles, too!

19 Water St., Old Milford, (513) 248-1256

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