Mission & History

Our Mission

The mission of the Downingtown Library Company is to ensure that every resident of the Greater Downingtown Area has access to exceptional opportunities to read, learn, create, connect and contribute to a better quality of life.

Our History

From an 1829’s private book collection to today’s vibrant community hub serving Downingtown Borough and surrounding townships

The Downingtown Library was first established in 1829 as a private collection of books to serve member families. On January 27, 1876, the Downingtown Library Company was formed to “sustain a library and reading room for the Borough of Downingtown.” By 1909 the Library offered a collection of almost 2,300 books in Jacob Edge’s store on the site later occupied by Downingtown National Bank (at the intersection of Brandywine and Lancaster Avenue). In 1914, the Library Company moved to The Miss Thomas Boarding School in a handsome stone building at 330 Lancaster Avenue. Over the next 100 years, the Library expanded from one room to the entire first floor and back porch and eventually took over the entire building. In January 2015, the library—bursting its seams—moved into a newly renovated building at 122 Wallace Avenue, adjacent to Kerr Park.

Downingtown Library entrance

The Downingtown Library joined Chester County Library as an associate member in 1961 and became a participating member of the Chester County Library System in 1979, greatly increasing the resources and collections available to Library patrons. Today, serving the Downingtown area and surrounding communities, the library provides activities including book clubs, story times, and educational programs and circulates over 175,000 items per year. More than 43,000 patrons enjoy access to books, databases, e‑books, and e‑magazines; check out everything from dolls and ukuleles to hotspots and museum passes; and find a welcoming place to connect.

Located next to Kerr Park in the Borough of Downingtown, at the center of Chester County, Downingtown Library is the heart of our community. A 501(c)(3) nonprofit public library (EIN 23-1440113), the Library is supported almost 50 percent by state and local government contributions. The balance of income comes through contributed sources from individual donations, foundations, corporate sponsorships, grants, and special fundraising events.