Letter: Real facts about Taylor library move

To The Editor,

Letters1I serve as a trustee on the Board of the Bayard Taylor Memorial Library.

We made an announcement that we were moving location two weeks ago, which has been very well received by the majority of people and patrons.

There are a few people who are disappointed and that is sad; but I felt it necessary to set the story straight, as some of the letters to the press have featured incorrect information.

I was asked to join this Board six months ago. I agreed because my children had benefitted from the excellent children’s programs, and the staff impressed me greatly.

My background is in Pharmaceutical Leadership/ Business Consulting. Serving with me on the Board as recently joining members are a Professor of Communication from a prestigious University, a Corporate Finance expert from a major bank, a noted architect, an early education expert, and the list goes on.

I gather that a few spectators are unhappy with past efforts of this Board, I am only speaking about what I’ve seen in six months, and what I see is a vision for the future.

I like to deal in FACTS, so here are 10 FACTS.

Feel free to write to me for clarification on any of these facts.  Otherwise I am afraid you may be reading works of fiction from a handful of uninformed individuals.

1. This is REGIONAL Library not the KENNETT SQUARE library – FACT.

The BTML serves 42,000 people across 8 municipalities. We are a Regional Library with an area of 100 square miles to cover.

The Borough of Kennett measures 1.1 square mile!

2. We are a forward thinking Board – FACT.

We recently received an award from Google/ Make Magazine to run a 3D printer camp as part of our Teen learning program. This 3D printer is not just for kids, although it has untold potential to help children’s learning programs. This printer, donated by a visionary patron, is already being used to develop new business opportunities around the area. Google generally do their diligence, do we need to say more?

Another example; the Library runs 5,000 adult literacy classes per year, some of which have helped business owners achieve their dreams of establishing viable local businesses.

3. Parking is only one of the reasons why the Library is moving – FACT.

The parking situation in Kennett is very bad/ untenable for a REGIONAL Library.

We considered nine parameters before deciding to move the location, parking was just one of them.

4. The current Library cannot be repurposed – FACT. 

The current building has major and long standing problems. The Trustees considered knocking the building down, as that was the only way it could be used to meet our vision for the future.  We didn’t feel that was appropriate, or green.

5. The current library is too small – FACT.

The new Library is projected to be twice the size of the current one. It will have dedicated parking and enough space to house all the projects being planned for the next decade. When you have 10,000 children attending learning programs each year and 120,000 visitors, you need a “right sized” facility. We will have state of the art facilities to help the community learn and grow.

6. The Library has ambitious plans – FACT.

In coming months we have a book signing by a NY Best selling author, an INSTACON Comic convention, the largest adult literacy program in the area, a course in Japanese language and culture, a new website, and a 3D printer camp lasting 6 weeks – funded by the visionaries at Google and Make Magazine.

Our only issues? Parking and space! We will manage, this year, but in the future we need to expand.

7. The Board consulted widely on this move – FACT.

The Board spent years trying to find a space within the Borough. The Borough couldn’t accommodate us.

8. The Board have changed their minds in the past – FACT.

I know all the history, and when I joined we set about making a decision grid to assist in this important decision on location. The results of our research and deliberations were very clear, as featured in published minutes of our Board meetings.

I have little concern for the past, except of course to extend the visionary work of Bayard Taylor.

My role is to help this library reach its potential for the future.

9. Libraries are the future not the “old school” past – FACT.

The BTML has one of the largest EBook programs in PA. We loan 1400 EBooks per month. Why drive to the bookstore when you can rent EBooks/ CD’s/ DVD’s and other items free of charge, and get assistance from a team of trained experts on their content? Books are a small part of what we do, but a vital part.

10. Access is vital – FACT.

We have an exciting mission to increase our patrons, card-holders, adult learning programs, children’s learning programs, second language programs, etc.

97% of current Library users drive to the library.  This figure includes those people who live within the 1.1 square mile Borough, and our large Hispanic patron base.

We desperately need a larger building, with wheelchair access, parking to accommodate new patrons, and a green facility.

Finally, the new site is less than a mile from our current facility, conveniently located just off Route1.

We hope to see you there!


Geoff Birkett,

Bayard Taylor Library Board Member


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