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It’s National Librarian Day!

April 16, 2026

April 16 is National Librarian Day! ย ๐Ÿ”–๐Ÿ“š๐Ÿ“–๐Ÿ“š๐Ÿ”– What better way to celebrate than visiting your local library?

Did you know? The precursor to the public library was the membership library – members of this type of private library paid a subscription fee to cover the costย of members-only book access.

The first membership library in the American colonies was founded by Benjamin Franklin in 1731 in Philadelphia. The library was a natural extension of theย Junto – a club of thinkers that came together to discuss “queries on any point of Morals, Politics, or Natural Philosophy.” Franklin also had a hand in publicย library development, donating a collection of books toย the public of Franklin, Massachusetts.

Nearly 200 years later, public libraries would be widespread. Steel magnate and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie had a particular interest in their spread – by 1920, roughly half of all public libraries in the United States had been funded with donations from Carnegie (!)

In his autobiography, Carnegie noted that “I resolved, if wealth ever came to me, that it should be used to establish free libraries.” Each Carnegie library was engraved with a sun and the words “Let there be light.”โ˜€๏ธโ˜€๏ธโ˜€๏ธ Nearly all of these libraries are still in operation.

 

The Library, Fรฉlix Vallotton, 1915

-Written by Anna Zemaitaitis, Communications and Design Officer

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Date:
April 16, 2026
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