Philadelphia Museums and America's First Public Library 

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Philadelphia Museums

Philadelphia museums and libraries are what Philly is culturally famous for. In fact, the first public library in the United States was founded in Philadelphia by Benjamin Franklin and some of his intellectual friends.

During his time in Philadelphia, Ben Franklin engaged in many public projects, and submitted many proposals to improve the city.

At one point, he and his acquaintances pooled their books to create a shared collection, which formed the basis for the first subscription library in America.

Founded in 1731, it was chartered in 1742 as the Library Company of Philadelphia. Library subscriptions provided funds to buy books that then could circulate among subscribers.

Franklin also published many of his own writings, including the immensely popular Poor Richard's Almanack, a collection of practical advice and humorous sayings that captured the spirit of colonial America.

Philadelphia images shown here include the Barnes Museum, the Art Museum and the Free Library of Philadelphia.

Philadelphia is now home to more than 250 public libraries and many fine museums. Among Philly's top rated museums are the Museum of Art, the Barnes Museum, the African American Museum and the Please Touch Museum.

America has five National Libraries ("National" means established by the U.S. government) They are:

1) The Library of Congress in Washington, D.C.,

2) the National Library of Medicine in Bethesda Maryland,

3) the National Agricultural Library in Beltsville,

4) the National Library of Education in Washington, D.C. and

5) the National Transportation Library.

In America today, there are roughly ten thousand public libraries, about a hundred thousand school libraries, around four thousand academic (college) libraries, and more than a thousand government libraries.

The world's oldest known library is probably Royal Library of Ashurbanipal.

Here is where archeologists discovered more than three-thousand clay tablets with Mesopotamian writings carved onto them. These tablets date back to more than 800 years before the birth of Jesus.

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