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Chester County Press

Trustees approve new name for library

05/24/2016 12:36PM ● By Richard Gaw

The Bayard Taylor Memorial Library in Kennett Square now has a new name.

By Richard L. Gaw
Staff Writer

If a fair definition of 'Compromise' is “a little give, a little take,” then those who reached the decision last week to give the Bayard Taylor Memorial Library in Kennett Square a new name, are to be given credit for their effective use of give and take.
The library's trustees voted unanimously on May 17 to rename the library “Kennett Library,” which will go into effect on June 7, as well as to name the location of its planned new library in honor of Bayard Taylor, the namesake for 120 years.
“The response to the naming presentations was extremely positive,” said Library President Thomas Swett. “We were very pleased and very surprised. Community leaders, library users and our municipal leaders all came forward to praise our efforts and encourage us onward.”
The board's decision followed the completion of a 17-step branding process, one that incorporated community input and extensive research into library naming practices throughout Chester County and across the United States. The selection of the name was reflective of the May 3 presentation by branding consultant Carl Francis at the Kennett Township Building. He unveiled the name “Kennett Library at the Bayard Taylor Commons,” which he said connects the library to a community, but also incorporates, and honors, its history.
Attaching "Kennett" to the library's name not only creates a sense of place, Francis said, it is in keeping with the names of the vast majority of the 500 libraries Francis researched around the country. For every library that is named for a historical figure or a donor, ten libraries are named for the community, or communities, they serve. In Chester County alone, 16 library names are location-based, while only two—the Bayard Taylor Memorial Library and the Henrietta Hankin Library in Chester Springs – are named after local figures.
Throughout his presentation, Francis stressed the importance of incorporating the Taylor name as part of the library's brand. Those who are in a rush to drop the library's reference to Taylor in its name committed a big mistake, he said, because it wiped out a connection to an area that is steeped in history, one that connected Taylor's name as a symbol of that history.  Incorporating the Taylor name in the official library name gives Bayard Taylor a job to do, Francis said. He recommended that the library weave Taylor into all future marketing and promotion of the library, in much the way Pierre S. DuPont is integrated at Longwood Gardens.
“One of our key goals was to arrive at a name that is public-friendly,” Swett said. “'Kennett Library' is clear about where we are. It's easy to pronounce and it translates well for our Spanish-speaking neighbors. It will also make it easy to find us on the web and on social media like Facebook and Twitter.”
Swett said that the library plans to introduce its new branding within the next three months, which will include a professionally-designed library logo and new historic displays.
To contact Staff Writer Richard L. Gaw, e-mail

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