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Time to say “Thanks” to Ben Franklin. On this date in 1731, Ben and some friends opened The Library Company – the very first lending library in America. There were libraries in England but none in the American colonies. Even for a person in Boston or Philadelphia, it was nearly impossible to read a book you didn’t own. Books were expensive, had to be shipped from overseas, and were often in languages – like Latin – that only educated people could understand. Ben and his friends decided to change that. They pooled their money, ordered some books and opened The Library Company in Philadelphia. The books covered a wide range of subjects, and many were written in English so that lots more people could read them. For a yearly fee, members could borrow books. If not a member, you could leave a deposit and take a book home.
What a great idea! Which, of course, we take for granted now. Thanks, Ben.