The Library Company has been collecting readers and rare books since 1731.

Support the Library Company
Join or renew your membership in the Library Company
Support acquisitions, conservation, programs, outreach & more
Join the James Rush Society and secure the future of Benjamin Franklin’s Library
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The Impact of Your Gift

The library that once served our founding fathers now serves the nation as an internationally renowned research center. Since the days of Benjamin Franklin, the collection has grown to more than half a million rare books, manuscripts, pamphlets, broadsides, prints, and photographs, making the Library Company one of the nation’s largest collections of printed and graphic materials relating to early American history. There are many ways that you can support America’s first lending library.


Shareholding

Become a Shareholder in the Library Company with a one-time investment of $200 and annual dues starting at $100. Shareholders are the direct descendants of Benjamin Franklin and his Junto, who purchased shares in a joint-stock “library company” in 1731 to support the purchase, care, and mutual use of books.  Each receives a numbered share certificate and documentation of its unique history of ownership.

Membership Benefits

Benjamin Franklin envisioned a library built by the collective efforts of ordinary people that could rival the best private collections. Since that time, thousands of individuals have contributed to the Library Company by becoming members. You, too, can take part in this illustrious, centuries-old tradition. The Library Company is proud to be member-supported since 1731! 

NEH Challenge

The National Endowment for the Humanities has awarded the Library Company a $500,000 Challenge Grant to endow the Program in African American History—the nation’s only center for research on the history and culture of people of African descent in the Atlantic World before 1900.

Junto

The Junto is named for Benjamin Franklin’s circle of civic-minded tradesmen who committed themselves to improving the world around them.  Our Junto is made up of donors who give $100 or more annually to help fund the acquisition of important research materials.

Adopt-a-Book

Feel a special connection to a book or print in the collection?  Give a gift to help care for, maintain, and support scholarly access to a favorite item and we will give it a customized bookplate.

Annual Fund

Provide support for ongoing operations of America’s first lending library:  conservation of books, prints and ephemera, fellowships, conferences, symposia, lectures, exhibitions, digitization, and digital humanities.

Gift and Tribute Shares

What to give the friend who has it all?  How about a piece of American history in the form of a unique numbered share in the Library Company? We can help select a share owned by historic individuals whose particular biographies make it the most meaningful gift.

Endowment

Your endowment gift of any size can provide support for your favorite Library Company programs in perpetuity. Make a lasting investment in the Program in Early American Economy and Society, the Program in African American History, the Women’s History Program, the Visual Culture Program, or the Program in Popular Medicine.

Planned Giving

Bequests by historic benefactors—from Benjamin Franklin and James Rush on—have made the Library Company what it is today. Planning an estate gift not only puts you in their company, it may also produce tax advantages and income for yourself or others.  As a steward of our future, you will be included in the James Rush Society.

Gifts in Kind

From the earliest days of the Library Company’s existence, our collections have grown through gifts and bequests of printed material and artifacts. A gift can be an effective way to ensure that precious items are expertly cared for and preserved, as well as digitized, exhibited, and made available to researchers. A gift of material can also have tax advantages.