Haverford Township Free Library: A Responsible Steward of the Public Trust

The contributions of the Haverford Township Free Library to our community neighborhoods are too numerous to list. Because HTFL is such an established institution, people often take for granted that we will always exist in the manner so accustomed. Here in Haverford Township as in most communities, the library agency must compete with many other essential State and Municipal services for funding. Although the library does collect a percentage of revenue from fundraising activity, private sources, or grants, these revenue streams can never (nor should they) fully support the many functions performed by HTFL. Despite the fact that we are involved in a challenging economic period of time, we are set to continue to act in a fiscally responsible manner as we meet our allocated budgets. HTFL will strive to maintain the many areas of service that we have provided in the past.

Our budget challenge for FY 2010 was how to deal with an overall deficit of $177,000. State budget cuts to public libraries are certainly being felt locally. The biggest direct hit came as a result of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania reducing library aid by nearly $70,000. The library looked at every item in the 2010 budget for where savings could be achieved. We have reduced our daily schedule to total 53 hours per week, made staffing adjustments, have pared payroll in the amount of $89,000, will continue to implement a responsible acquisition policy, and will continue to consider other business oriented options open to us. “While there is no current talk of restoring state funding to libraries to previous levels, I would still urge us all to remind all of our elected officials of the central role libraries play in our communities,” said Richard Thau, Library Director. “These are difficult economic times, and we will need to work harder to seek additional funding.” Haverford Township, which provides approximately 75% of the library’s budget, cannot make up the difference. “Our citizens need to become more active in the process that will make the library more successful in the future, said Christine Faris, Assistant Library Director. “We are fortunate to have an active ‘“Friends of the Haverford Township Free Library”’ organization and very good community support.”

There is good news, however, on the library front. The Haverford Township Free Library continues to be a library leader within the Delaware County Library Community. The library is in the midst of celebrating our 75th year of operations. We have 9 full time and 25 part time staff members. There are currently 28,200 plus library account card members with over 25,000 visitors per month. Library usage is up during this down economic period. Over 90% of our users are Township residents.

We are open to serve the Township 7 days per week! There are 133,000 volumes in the collection. We have 12 desktop computers (95% utilization rate) with eight more public work stations expected in 2010 via a grant, 4 circulation computers, and free wireless access. Our new HTFL website has also seen increases in 2009. The Reference Department answers about 5,000 informational-based questions per quarter. We run hundreds of programs each year attended by over 18,000 residents.

To summarize, we are “absolutely” one of the Township’s most used and well run assets. Our mission will continue "to provide you with resources, programs, and services that enhance and enrich your life." If questions arise regarding our responsible stewardship of “the cornerstone of the Haverford community,” please direct them to our following contact:

Richard Thau
Library Director
1601 Darby Road
Havertown, PA 19083


[Date released 12/23/2009]