The Phoenixville Public Library is your local library that is also a member of the Chester County Library System. The Chester County Library System is a “federated” system, meaning there is a District Center Library located in Exton, with seventeen (17) member libraries throughout the County, all of which are able to combine resources. The Phoenixville Public Library is, in a typical month, the third-busiest member library in terms of material circulation.

Additionally, the Phoenixville Public Library is a Carnegie Library, built with money donated by Andrew Carnegie at the turn of the 20th Century. However, the library existed before that time, through an arrangement unique among libraries that are members of the Chester County Library System: the library, as it exists now, began at the end of the 19th Century as a component of the Phoenixville Area School District. That fact is reflected in the composition of today’s Board of Trustees of the Phoenixville Public Library, where the school district holds two of nine seats, and also by the fact that the school district provides the library with over fifty percent (50%) of its operating revenue through a tax appropriation.

The Phoenixville Public Library has a Director of Development who oversees the fundraising activities of the library. Chief among these is the annual Wine, Wit & Wisdom fundraiser, which in years past has included authors such as Brad Meltzer, Lisa Scottoline and Robb Cadigan as featured speakers. Additionally, the library employs an annual appeal, wherein every gift, regardless of size, is important in enabling it to carry out its mission. Also, individual estate planning techniques such as bequests, and other planned giving vehicles, are available; the library recognizes all who have made provisions for it in their estate plans.

The Phoenixville Public Library is at the forefront of the way that public libraries are changing in the digital age. It strives to be the community and cultural center that serves as a hub of the Greater Phoenixville area, meeting the educational, cultural and civic needs of its community and the people it serves. For instance, the library accepts passport applications on behalf of the U.S. Department of State. Appointments are required, and Passport photos are available during selected hours. Additionally, the Phoenixville Public Library offers mobile “hotspot” rentals. This program allows Chester County Library System card holders to access unlimited, high-speed Internet service anywhere a T-Mobile signal can be received, through the use of a portable device that can in turn connect up to ten devices with access to the internet.

Along those same lines, the library is currently exploring a renovation of its main floor to better serve the needs of its patrons. The renovation will focus on providing rooms to patrons for semi-private study and similar uses. It will also focus on furniture with greater flexibility to allow for collaborative configurations and to be more patron-friendly. Lastly, the introduction of mobile shelving will allow for greater openness within the main library area.

I am proud to serve on the Board of Trustees of the Phoenixville Public Library, and to oversee a talented and dedicated staff fulfill its mission and further its aspirations with excellence.

Written by Joseph K. Koury, Esq.

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