1731 – Benjamin Franklin founds United States’s first lending library in Philadelphia. Most Americans in the 1730s had limited access to books. Books, in early America, were rare and expensive. There were no public libraries. Only the very wealthy and the clergy had access to large numbers of books. Even men of moderate means could not readily afford books. Enter Benjamin Franklin. On July 1, 1731, Franklin and a group of members from the Junto, a philosophical association, drew up “Articles of Agreement” to form a library.