Library name comes with vow to honor Bayard Taylor

A unanimous vote on Tuesday, May 17, ended what had become a seemingly endless name game.

John Hendrix (left), who heads children's services at the Kennett Library, gives an overview of the summer programs. To his right are board members Stan Allen, Jeff Yetter and Tom Swett.

John Hendrix (left), who heads children's services at the Kennett Library, gives an overview of the summer programs. To his right are board members Stan Allen, Jeff Yetter and Tom Swett.

The once Bayard Taylor Memorial Library and former Kennett Public Library will soon be known in simpler terms: the Kennett Library. The new moniker will take effect on June 7 to avoid interfering with the materials already printed for the upcoming Home & Garden Day Tour, one of the library’s most popular fundraisers.

Board President Tom Swett said the decision followed a lengthy process of research and community outreach. He said that five public information sessions were held to explain the procedure and that a summary report was distributed through thousands of emails and newsletters and personal contact with officials in the eight municipalities the library serves: the Borough of Kennett Square and East Marlborough, Kennett, Newlin, New Garden, Pennsbury, Pocopson, and West Marlborough townships.

“At our five sessions, more than 95 percent of the comments made were both favorable and encouraging,” Swett said.

He added that he understands that acceptance might take time for some. “But I believe we have done the homework and the research and made the honest effort that our community both expects and deserves,” he said.

A second unanimous vote, emphatically linked to the first, followed the name change. The board approved a resolution “to honor and incorporate Bayard Taylor into the new library grounds or building in a meaningful, imaginative and lasting way.”

Swett explained that the way in which that goal is accomplished would unfold as plans for a new library facility become clearer. The library has outgrown its building in the 200 block of East State Street in Kennett Square, and the board has expressed its desire to remain in the downtown area.

Before the votes, the board welcomed two new members from Pocopson Township: Brad Piper and Chris Larson, both of whom expressed a commitment to the important role the library serves in the community.

“We are delighted to welcome you … to this august group,” Swett said. “You are here on a very momentous day.”

The board also heard from John Hendrix, the children’s librarian, who gave an animated overview of the many summer programs the library is offering.

Hendrix said that this is the 10th year he’s been involved in the summer lineup. He said in 2006, it attracted 2,660. By last year, attendance had jumped to 6,138.

“I’m a competitive person,” he said. “Each year I try and beat the previous number.”

Hendrix said a wide range of free children’s programs was designed to attract audiences ranging from infants to 12-year-olds. He said he appreciated the board’s investment this year in a comprehensive brochure that includes detailed descriptions of all the offerings, such as Family Place Playgroup for infants to 4-year-olds, Pinkalicious Party for ages 3 to 6, and Mad Science: Chemistry for ages 9 to 12. To access the brochure, click here.

Finally, the board received an update on the Home & Garden Tour, scheduled for Saturday, June 4, from Tiffany Volovich, one of the volunteers. She said a lot of hard work by many people has paved the way for a successful 25th anniversary tour. She said both ticket sales for the event and raffle sales for a selection of coveted gift baskets – currently on display in the library – were going well.

Volovich said the committee greatly appreciated the board’s support. “We’re very excited about this year,” she said. “Everything’s in place and the homes look great.”

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