America's Historic Towns and Oldest Places
The Darby Free Library (est. in 1743) is America's oldest library, in continuous service since 1743. It was first founded as The Darby Library Co. on March 10, 1743 when 29 Quaker farmers and merchants gathered at the Darby Friends Meeting House and agreed to start a library in their chosen librarian's home. It was founded the same year as Thomas Jefferson's birth and 12 years before the Liberty Bell was even thought of. Today it still operates as the Darby Free Library in a building constructed in 1872 at the corner of 10th and Main streets in the borough of Darby. Darby Free Library has a wealth of resources to offer. It received a new face-lift in 2018 thanks to a donation from the Henderson Group. Some inaccurately refer to the Library Company of Philadelphia (founded in 1731) located in Philadelphia, PA as the oldest. However while founded as a membership library it is no longer actually a library. It currently operates as a nonprofit, independent research organization. The Darby Free Library, the oldest library in America, is run by a private company dependent on grants and donations. The official address to this oldest attraction, the Darby Free Library, is 1001 Main Street in Darby Borough, Delaware County, PA 19023.