The library has a rich history in Lancaster County:
The Lancaster Library Company was formed and in 1759. In 1763, the name changed to the Juliana Library Company in honor of Lady Juliana Penn, daughter of the the Earl of Pomfret and wife of William Penn’s son Thomas. Juliana Penn donated money and books to the Borough of Lancaster for the establishment of a library consistent with Benjamin Franklin’s emphasis on the necessity of establishing libraries for public access to information as a public good.
Over the next 250 years, library service evolved in Lancaster County. From the Juliana Library came the Mechanics Society Library whose focus was providing primarily technical information to area tradesmen.
Local lawyer A. Herr Smith bequeathed his home at 125 N. Duke Street to the library in 1903. The A. Herr Smith Library served the community until 1953 when the new Lancaster County Free Public Library was opened on the same site with private funds. The old library and buildings on either side were demolished to make way for the new and current Lancaster Public Library. The cornerstone of the new library was laid on May 17,1953.
Today, the Lancaster Public Library consists of the main library in Lancaster City with a branch in Mountville. These sites provide direct library service to approximately 40 percent of Lancaster County’s population in fourteen municipalities.