Franklin Public Library
Franklin Public Library 421 12th St. Franklin, PA 16323
Monday 10:00am – 5:00pm
Tuesday 9:00am – 7:00pm
Wednesday 9:00am – 7:00pm
Thursday 9:00am – 7:00pm
Friday 10:00am – 5:00pm
Saturday 10:00am – 5:00pm
The Franklin Public Library was founded in 1894 and has had several homes, although its current location on Twelfth Street has been its home since 1921.
The original structure was built in 1849 as a residence and required extensive renovations in 1921 to make it suitable for library use. A children’s room was added in 1964 and another wing was added for the adult collection in 1978. Both of these additions greatly expanded the public use areas of the library.
Local men Judge McCalmont, W.B. Sawyer and J. H. Simonds started a Reading Room in the Fall of 1864 for a fee of $5/year. This allowed adults access to read magazines and newspapers, write letters and meet friends. J.D. Hancock and Professor Kinsley urged members of the 1894 graduation class of the local schools to each purchase one book for a library. Advertisements were published in the Franklin Evening News urging citizens to contribute books, money and time.
In 1894, the Franklin Library Association (FLA) was established after the tireless effort of the Hancock family, the Mullins family, Henry Sibley and S.C. Lewis. Fifty people each paid $50 for the privilege of a life membership in the association. A charter was written stating the wish to found and main a public library in the City of Franklin. The charter also provided for a 5-member Board of Directors to manage the Association. The library was not a free, public library but a subscription library. The subscription fee was $1/year.
The FLA was first housed on the 2nd floor of the Printz Co. Building, until it outgrew the space and moved across the street in 1897. The library was now housed in two connecting rooms in the Hancock Building. Records of the Association from 1904-1917 have been lost to time, but through newspaper articles we’ve learned that the City of Franklin was offered a Carnegie Library building. However, unlike Oil City, it was turned down. In support of the decision to deny funds from Mr. Carnegie, local millionaire General Miller wrote a letter to the people of Franklin expressing his opinion that this offer would not be accepted because he adamantly opposed a library dedicated to someone not of Franklin and who apparently had no interest in the city. General Miller was willing to contribute a fourth of the money needed to build a local library and he presented drawings by a local architect of a possible plan.
When documentation of minutes resumed in 1917, the library was still housed in the Hancock building, so General Miller’s plan was not accepted. However, it is known that the FLA purchased Judge McCalmont’s home prior to 1917 but it was used as a boarding house until enough funds required to convert the home into a library were raised. $30,000 was raised by 1921 and on Saturday, June 17th,1922, the Franklin Public Library opened to the public in its current location.
In April 2017, the Franklin Public Library became the first branch of Oil Region Library Association (see ORLA history).