Pattye Benson

Community Matters

Tredyffrin Library Closed until December 4: Flooding & Budget Deficit of $100K+

Library closedThe Tredyffrin Library sent out an email to their contact list stating that the library was closed and all activities cancelled until next Thursday, December 4 due to flooding.

But it appears that the problem is actually worse than just flooding — a visit to to the library’s website offers an ominous message from their Board of Trustees, stating that the Tredyffrin Library is over $100K in the red and in danger of service and staffing cuts. Indicating “increased utilities and operating costs” and “decreased funding”, there is a plea for contributions to save the library. Also noted on the website, the Tredyffrin Library Board of Trustees has called an emergency public meeting for Thursday, December 4, 7:30 PM at Tredyffrin Library for a 2015 budget review.

I am not certain exactly what is going on — at the Board of Supervisors Meeting a few weeks ago, the Tredyffrin Libraries director Mike Packard presented an update and financial review of the township libraries as part of the township’s 2015 budget discussion. The picture presented was one of continuing library usage, increased selection of programming, higher level of volunteer hours, etc. but no mention of this $100K+ deficit. It appears that the library is in trouble and this new ‘flooding’ issue is only going to make the financial situation worse. When I called the library for an update, the recording said to contact the Paoli Library as they were still operating.

Tredyffrin Public Library will be closed
until Thursday, December 4
due to flooding at the library
If you have materials on hold at Tredyffrin, you may pick them up when the library reopens on December 4. When placing a new hold, please choose another pick up library other than Tredyffrin. No fines will accrue for days that the library is closed.

A Message from the Board of Trustees:


Increased utilities and operating costs combined with decreased funding have resulted in a budget deficit of over $100,000. We are in immediate risk of having to cut valuable services, staff and days of operation in order to balance the budget.

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  1. I have no idea whether the closure of Tredyffrin Library from Friday until next Thursday is required to make needed repairs, or whether it’s a decision by the Township to cut costs. In any case, in a community where the average annual household income exceeds $100k, there is no justifiable reason to limit hours, cut valued programs and lay off the handful of paid staff unless residents contribute n additional $100,000 to close a budget gap. We already have. It’s sitting in Tredyffrin’s healthy fund balance. Use it. (Or raise taxes to cover the costs of keeping our libraries open.) People choose to live here for a number of reasons. Among them, the quality of life and the excellent schools. Both include access to first-rate libraries. Does anyone disagree that adequate library funding should be a top priority in our township’s 2015 budget?

  2. The Library is much like the Fire Company. They are both essential services that are heavily reliant on voluntary donations.

    If every family that uses the library sent $20 to $50 it would do a lot to ease the situation.

  3. OK, here’s an update re the library closing. The first floor carpeting and technology equipment was ruined as a result of a bathroom plumbing issue. The library’s insurance will cover the costs for repair, replacement, etc. In fact, work is already underway with the carpet, etc. and will continue during the upcoming week. This is a big project and the hope is that the library can reopen on Thursday but I suggest checking the website or calling to confirm before you go.

    On the $100K deficit situation, it is hoped that the immediate 2015 budget gap situation will be resolved. The library is a priority to the community and it is important that it remain open at its current level. Long range budgetary planning is key to the library’s future and its financial sustainability.

  4. Did someone above seriously just refer to the library as ‘essential’ as compared to the fire company?

    To determine ‘essential’ you probably need to ask some very important questions.

    1. The library is anything but essential. As it is today, it is an artifact of the past. What it costs to run vs the benefits is a negative proposition. There are things that can be done to make it a true resource center. Lower Merion has done this with buildings like the Luddington Library. The library in Strafford, design wise, is extremely inefficient. The construction was sub-par and the recent work was just as bad. Like many things in Tredyffrin, the library is another example of inefficiency and is a money pit.

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