The Lancaster Public Library is a 501 (C)(3) nonprofit that provides public access to a variety of services, programs, and information resources to enhance individual knowledge, community enrichment, and economic vitality.
The library provides over 200,000 books, magazines, newspapers, DVDs, CDs, and audiobooks, as well as materials for children and adults in fourteen world languages. The library also offers free computer and WiFi access, online databases, hundreds of educational and cultural programs, the Autism Resource Center, and the Duke Street Business Center.
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. Recognizing the value that strong public libraries have in communities public funding was provided and helped the library grow over the years with the establishment of branches throughout Lancaster County.
Today, the Lancaster Public Library consists of the main library in Lancaster City with branches in Leola and Mountville. These sites provide direct library service to approximately 40 percent of Lancaster County's population in fourteen municipalities. It also serves as State designated District Library Center providing interlibrary loan, reference service, and business services to all county residents.