Everyone knows Benjamin Franklin was an important statesman, inventor, and a signer of the Declaration of Independence. But did you know he started the first library in America for the public good? Everyone knows Benjamin Franklin was an important statesman, inventor, and a signer of the Declaration of Independence. But did you know he started the first library in America for the public good? Ben Franklin was always a "bookish" boy. He was born in 1706, the seventh of ten children of a candlemaker. The first book he read was the Bible at age five, and then every printed word in his father's small home library. Ben wanted to read more, but books were expensive. He wanted to go to school and learn more, but his family needed him to work. Ben Franklin had lots of ideas about how to turn his love of reading and learning into something more. First he worked as a printer's apprentice, then he set up his own printing business. Later he became the first bookseller in Philadelphia, started a newspaper, published Poor Richard's Almanac , and in 1731, with the help of his friends, organized the first subscription lending library, the Library Company. Ruth Ashby's fast-paced biography takes young readers through Franklin's life from his spirited, rebellious youth through his successful career as an inventor and politician and finally to the last years of his life surrounded by his personal collection of books. Ashby demonstrates how Franklin's love of books and desire for knowledge was the foundation of all his great accomplishments.