historical drawing of easton pa

The Easton Library Company Database began development in 2010 as a collaboration between Associate Professor of English Christopher Phillips and Digital Scholarship Services Head Eric Luhrs.  James Griffin, Lafayette’s Digital Library Developer, joined the effort in 2012. The project focuses on making available for study the loan records of the Easton Library Company (ELC), a shareholding library that was the first public library in Pennsylvania's Lehigh Valley. Five folio-size loan ledgers, currently held at the Easton Area Public Library, cover the ELC's entire history, 1811-1862, making the collection one of the most extensive pre-Civil War library archives in the nation. These records shed light on library history, literary history, social history, the history of Easton and Northampton County, and other fields of study.  Transcription of the ledgers is still in progress by EXCEL research assistants, as is data collection on the ELC's holdings and patrons. As the database moves towards completion, an expanded team of librarians is developing powerful analytical and visualization tools to make the ELC's history an especially rich window into an early American library.