New board officers to lead Kennett Public Library
● By Steven Hoffman
Thomas C. Swett has been elected as the president of the Kennett Public Library Board. He will be joined by vice president Jeff Yetter and secretary-treasurer Bill McLachlan on a new team of executive officers that will work to restore the library board’s standing in the community after a tumultuous few years.
“Our immediate goal is credibility,” Swett explained during a brief interview on Feb. 11. “We want to give the community confidence in the library board again.”
In the summer of 2015, elected officials in the Kennett Square area called for the formation of a task force to help the library board after concerns were raised by residents in the community about how the library board was functioning after a spate of resignations.
Enlisting Swett to lead the library board is one way to gain instant credibility. He has served on the boards of numerous non-profit organizations, including Historic Kennett Square, the Po-Mar-Lin Fire Company, and the Chester County Hospital System, and has considerable experience leading fundraising campaigns. One of the major issues facing the Kennett Public Library is how to address its long-term facilities needs—will a new library be constructed on the Ways Lane site, as the library board previously favored, or will a viable site in Kennett Square be identified?
Swett, a resident of East Marlborough Township, previously served as a member of the library board from 1982 to 1994, and was president for three of those years.
The other executive officers bring considerable experience as well.
Yetter, a resident of Kennett Township, has extensive business and marketing skills. He retired as the president of the Walter E. Yetter Company, a manufacturers’ representative specializing in the home center industry. He is well known for his work in Kennett Township and many local area nonprofit organizations.
McLachlan, also a resident of Kennett Township, is a retired executive from Hercules Inc. and has served on many nonprofit boards following his retirement as well as also helping Kennett Township.
Swett said that he is very impressed by the group of people who are now serving on the library board. Because of internal strife over the last few years, virtually all the members are new. Recent appointees to the board include Dr. Loren Pearson, a Newlin Township appointee; Dr. Brenda Williams-Mercomas, a Kennett Square Borough appointee; and Betsy Del Vecchio, a Pennsbury Township appointee.
Continuing to serve on the library board are Stan Allen, Karen Ammon, Chris Britt, Henry (Jerry) Brown and Carolyn Nicander Mohr.
“I am so impressed by the board members,” Swett said.
The new board president added that the library itself continues to function at a very high level, with more than 116,000 people visiting for programs and services each year.
“The programs are dynamic,” Swett said.
He wants the new library board members to develop cohesiveness as they work to decide how the library can best meet the needs of the community in the future.
In a statement announcing the new executive officers, the Kennett Public Library expressed its appreciation for the service of former board members Susan Mackey-Kallis, Joan Weber, Rosa Quintana, Doug Thompson, and Margarita Garay-Zarco.