The Paul Smith Library of Southern York County, established in 2003, is the result of a merger between the New Freedom Library Center and the Shrewsbury Borough Public Library. The New Freedom Library Center had been operating since 1968; the Shrewsbury Borough Public Library opened in 1973. The merger of the two libraries took place in February 2003 and both libraries continued to operate in their respective buildings until the new building on Constitution Avenue was completed in October. Construction costs were raised from donations by the local community and with a grant from the Office of Commonwealth Libraries, Pennsylvania Department of Education. The Southern York County Library opened on October 25, 2003.
The Library is a certified LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) building, a national standard. As a ‘green' Library, and only the second in Pennsylvania, the building uses at least 30% less energy of a conventional library of the same size. The carpet is made from recycled soda bottles and the linoleum floors are made from all-natural materials. The Library's blue recycled steel shelves hold all items, and the circulation desk is crafted from wheatboard, created from unused portions of wheat crops. At over 10,000 square feet of space, the building has dedicated space to programming and holds over 40,000 items.
On January 5, 2008, the Library was renamed the Paul Smith Library of Southern York County. The sale of a gift of land from Paul Smith to the Library's Capital Campaign fund resulted in more than a one-half million dollar contribution. Paul Smith, a native York County businessman and World War II veteran, started Paul L. Smith Builders in 1946. Smith built developments and businesses in southern York County, including Southern Farms and Freedom Hills, Market Square Shopping Center and many private homes.
Today, the Paul Smith Library of Southern York County is an independent library with an elected Board of Directors representing New Freedom Borough, Shrewsbury Borough and Shrewsbury Township. It is a member library of the York County Library System, and joins twelve other libraries as part of the consortium.