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Chester County Press

Uncle Irvin: Kennett Library Board lacks financial muscle

06/03/2015 08:32AM ● By J. Chambless
By Uncle Irvin

Chester County Press writer Steven Hoffman's story in the May 20 edition regarding a dysfunctional board of directors at the Kennett Public Library needed to be written.
From a historical standpoint going back 30 years, the Kennett Library Board of Directors has always been dysfunctional and leaderless, and just plain weak.
We are talking about the Board of Directors only, not the staff or library directors Joe Lordi or Donna Murray.
The professional staff members are the only thing that holds the Kennett Public Library together.
In the 40 years I have been a supporter and patron, nothing about the library has changed except its name.
Because of its total failure in leadership and recruiting wealthy benefactors, the library board used its endowment to purchase a six-acre parcel adjacent to Route 1 in Kennett Township after the board failed to persuade Kennett Borough Council to cut the library some slack and provide free public parking off State Street.
While the longterm future of the library no doubt lies in the Kennett Township location, the Board of Directors completely botched the initial public presentation years ago, which Uncle Irvin attended, by expending a huge sum of money to hire a hotshot architect with national credentials, whose plans were excessive, while failing to engage a strong, wealthy community leader and a fundraising organization to head up the all-important major gifts campaign. As a result, their were virtually no major gifts, and the project died.
The newly resurrected fundraising campaign has gained no traction and is dead in the water.
Sadly, the Kennett Public Library will remain at its present location until it reaches out to benefactors who will donate the millions it will need to relocate.
(Uncle Irvin's column is his opinion only and is not a news story).