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Jan 11

Ephrata Library

Posted on January 11, 2023 at 3:27 PM by Ephrata Borough


Everything You Need To Know About The Ephrata Library


The Ephrata Public Library is one of the Borough’s most cherished institutions. In this article, we dig deep into the origins of this institution, how it was funded, and where it is located today. 

The History Of The Ephrata Library

Ephrata was originally settled in the early 1700s by a religious community called the Cloisters. These people were skilled printers and publishers, and they formed their own early version of the Ephrata Public Library.

 Many, many years later, in 1917, the seeds for an official modern Ephrata Public Library were planted with a small collection of books in the Washington Avenue High School. The collection expanded over time and was eventually made public before being closed in 1947. 

 In 1949, fervor for an Ephrata Public Library was renewed when a local resident named Lizzie Widder died and left her house and storeroom to be used as the new library facility. Unfortunately, her request couldn’t be fulfilled because her home lay outside the Ephrata Borough.

 By 1961, the library was being housed in the historic Connell Mansion. But after it became officially designated as a service location in a countywide library system, the mansion was deemed too small. 

 In a joint effort by the Ephrata Borough Council, with funds from the estate of Miss Lizzie Widder, government funds, and the proceeds from a local fundraising drive, the first official Ephrata Public Library facility was built in 1967.

The Ephrata Public Library Today 

 As time passed and the community grew, a new, larger, more modern facility was needed. In 1995, after another fund drive, a new library facility was erected at its current location, 550 South Reading Road.

 If you would like to learn more about the Ephrata Public Library and how you can help support the future of this public service, click here.