The John Graham Library opened in the summer of 1960 as the Newville Public Library in one room at 7 S. High Street. The room was donated by the Newville Jaycees, $200 was given to the library by the Newville Community Development Council, and 556 books, donated by area residents, were on the shelves. Within two weeks 1,000 books had been shelved. Donated funds enabled the library to hire one employee, Mrs. Beverly Reid Hurley. Library officers were Dorothy Marquart, John Grove, Sara Swartz, Mary Plough and John Peterson.
The library quickly outgrew 7 S. High Street. In June of 1961 two rooms were rented in the John Graham house at 9 Parsonage Street. The following year, the library was using the entire first floor. In 1991 a children's room and a badly needed office area were added.
Over the years the John Graham Library has grown from one small room with 556 books, one employee, and $200 into a large house with over 35,000 books, eight employees and an annual budget of more than $130,000.
John Graham was born in West Pennsboro Township in 1843. Following graduation from business school in New York, he became a store owner for two years. He worked as a bookkeeper at First National Bank for six years, was co-owner of a tannery, served two terms as a State Representative, and was involved in the trolley business in Wilkes Barre and Cumberland County. He owned ten farms in the Newville area.
When John Graham died in 1915, his will directed that his house and $20,000 were to be used for a library. His estate could not be settled until the third Mrs. Graham died in 1963. Following the settlement of Mr. Graham's estate, money was released to renovate the house. The library became the John Graham Library under the direction of a seven member board established by the will.
Page updated May 15, 2012