Franklin on Libraries

Benjamin Franklin in his Autobiography tells how in 1731 he started what may have been the first public library in the United States, and mentions some of the benefits thereof:

And now I set on foot my first project of a public nature, that for a subscription library. I drew up the proposals, got them put into form by our great scrivener, Brockden, and, by the help of my friends in the Junto, procured fifty subscribers of forty shillings each to begin with, and ten shillings a year for fifty years, the term our company was to continue. We afterwards obtained a charter, the company being increased to one hundred. This was the mother of all the North American subscription libraries, now so numerous. It is become a great thing itself, and continually increasing. These libraries have improved the general conversation of the Americans, made the common tradesmen and farmers as intelligent as most gentlemen from other countries, and perhaps have contributed in some degree to the stand so generally made throughout the colonies in defense of their privileges.

(cf. Book Houses (1999-12-14), Boston Public Library (2002-06-20), Got Library (2003-09-17), Room to Read (2004-10-23), Library History (2007-02-16), Emerson on Libraries (2007-08-31), Asimov on Libraries (2007-12-28), ...) - ^z - 2008-07-14

(correlates: Buss and Ride, Comments on HinduVsBuddhist, Franklin on Pride, ...)