Bucks County Free Library Timeline

1691 A library in Langhorne is established by the Middletown Friends Meeting. The original collection includes 23 books.


1720's William Tennent establishes the "Log College" in Warminster Township, making Bucks County an important cultural and educational center for the colonies. Log College students and teachers go on to lead and establish more than 64 colleges and universities across America. Many Log College graduates stay in Bucks County and the surrounding region, where they breed a love and respect for learning, books, and libraries.


1731 Benjamin Franklin gains support from the William Penn family for a "Library Company of Philadelphia." Penn's secretary, James Logan, is charged with purchasing the library's first books in the following year.


1755 Warminster citizens join Montgomery County neighbors to build the "Union Library of Hatborough." Its first collection is housed in Hatboro's Crooked Billet Inn.


1800 The Library of Congress is founded.


1802 In response to a petition from the Quaker Village of Attleborough (Langhorne), Governor Thomas McKean issues a charter to the Attleborough Library, which becomes the Langhorne Library when the village changes names in 1876.


1878 The Yardley Library opens in a newly built Gothic Revival building on land donated by the heirs of Yardley's first settler, William Yardley.


1886 Pittsburgh industrialist and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie provides funding for the first of 1,679 "Carnegie libraries" built across America. Carnegie never requires that his name be placed upon any of the libraries he builds. Instead, he asks that the phrases "Free to the people" and "Let there be light" be etched over the doors as reminders of what libraries should be and what books can provide.


1888 The Langhorne Library receives $12,000 through a bequest from Miss Anna Mary Williamson. In her will Miss Williamson states that the entirety of the gift must be spent on site purchase and construction, which necessitates extravagant spending for the era. As a result, the library is electrically lit, making it the first public building in Bucks County to be illuminated by electricity.


1916 The Melinda Cox Free Library opens in Doylestown.


1952 Alfred and William Levitt take orders to build 3,500 homes in a new development they call Levittown. Plans for the community include parks, schools, churches, shopping centers, and a library.


1955 Perkasie businessman and community leader Samuel Pierce purchases a one-room schoolhouse, hires a librarian, and stocks the building with books to open a public library in Perkasie.


1956 The Bucks County Free Library is established by a resolution of the Board of County Commissioners as a result of action on the part of three sponsoring organizations: the Bucks County Council of Parent-Teacher Associations, the Bucks County Federation of Women's Clubs, and the Bucks County Federation of Trade and Industrial Councils of the Pennsylvania AFL-CIO.


1957 Bucks County Free Library headquarters open in Rosenberger Hardware Store in Doylestown.


1960 Langhorne Library becomes Langhorne-Middletown Library when the boroughs of Langhorne, Langhorne Manor, Penndel, Hulmeville, and Middletown Township join together to support a regional free public library.


1962 The Bucks County Free Library headquarters, now located in the new County Administrative Building, is appointed by the state library to serve as the county's District Center Library.


1966 The Levittown library merges with Bucks County Free Library and becomes a county branch.


1971 The Langhorne-Middletown Library and Samuel Pierce's Perkasie Library merge with Bucks County Free Library and become a county branches.


1973 James Michener speaks at the dedication of a new Bucks County Free Library Upper County Branch near Quakertown. The branch becomes the James A. Michener Branch of the Bucks County Free Library.


1977 A newly-constructed Pennwood Branch of the Bucks County Free Library opens to serve Langhorne, Langhorne Manor, Penndel, Hulmeville, Middletown, and surrounding communities.


1978 The Yardley Library, recently relocated from its original 1878 home to a new township building, joins Bucks County Free Library and becomes a county branch.


1981 Bensalem's first public library opens as branch of of the Bucks County Free Library.


1988 The Pierce Library Association leads an effort to raise over a half-million dollars from local citizens, and a new library is built in Perkasie.


1988 A newly-constructed Doylestown District Center Library opens to the public on the site of the former County prison. This brings the Bucks County Free Library's Melinda Cox Branch, its Center County Branch, and the administrative and support services under one roof.

1990 A newly-constructed Yardley-Makefield branch opens to the public.


1995 A newly-constructed Levittown branch opens to the public.


1997 The Bucks County Free Library receives a $1 million dollar bequest from Bucks County native and writer James Michener.

2004 A newly-constructed James A. Michener Branch opens in Quakertown.

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