Great communities build great libraries.

They go hand-in-hand. Established over a century ago, Kennett Library has served as a bedrock for our regional community. Many of our most successful entrepreneurs, artists, educators, professionals, and community leaders found their start at this local institution. Kennett Library is truly a place of possibilities, where all people, regardless of economic position, race, age, ethnicity, or walk of life, have the same opportunity to learn and grow, explore and develop their talents, and realize their dreams.

Imagine a Place

Where possibilities and the future begin with people of all ages and all walks of life discovering and pursuing their talents and interests, gaining knowledge and skills which enrich and improve their lives.

Where a community gathers… with people participating in educational and informative programs, sharing ideas, and working together to build a strong and vibrant community.

Where culture is celebrated… with people participating in programs and events that celebrate the people, history, and arts and cultural treasures of the region.

Where enjoyment abounds… with people attending shows, movies, and special programs that lift the spirit and offer new venues for recreation and relaxation.

Where organizations and businesses thrive… with groups using meeting space, technology, and resources to support services which strengthen our communities today, and foster an extraordinary tomorrow.

Libraries are About the Future

In 2017, Kennett Library conducted a Visioning Program to identify the critical factors needed for a successful new library. Four significant findings have guided the planning and design process:


Highly successful libraries serve as resource centers for their community. They connect people and resources to enhance civic engagement, social connection and economic development. Addressing this, the new library will have multiple large and small group meeting rooms with expanded audio-visual technology, an auditorium and terrace. All of these places and spaces can be used by nonprofit organizations, businesses and groups that serve the community.


Technology, distance learning, and digital outreach will play a core, fundamental role in all of our futures. This is reinforced with the COVID pandemic and anticipated changes in the post COVID world. The new Kennett Library & Resource Center will provide state-of-the-art information resources, access to technology and training for all members of the community. The new Kennett Library & Resource Center will play a critical role in providing resources, technology, and training for people of all ages. It will give those who don’t have access to these tools the opportunity to communicate, connect, learn, and grow.

Arts & Culture

21st Century libraries are also centers for arts and culture. Kennett Library & Resource Center will showcase the rich arts, historic, and cultural heritage of the Kennett area with space for artisan exhibits, music and performing arts, and a 110-seat auditorium for movies, theater, and other programs and productions.

Economic Engines

New libraries serve as economic engines. The new Kennett Library and Resource Center will be a destination spot attracting a quarter of a million visitors to restaurants, shops, and other regional businesses and attractions. It has been estimated this will contribute some $1.89 million in additional annual revenues to the local economy.

None of this is possible in the current facility. Without handicap access, those with physical limitations are not able to benefit from many valuable programs. Lack of meeting space limits the ability to provide space and resources for the community. Limited parking make access difficult for many. And, the current facility, built in 1962, never envisioned the role that digital learning and communication would play in the future – which is now.

The New Kennett Library & Resource Center

The community deserves and needs much more. This new Kennett Library & Resource Center provides the structure, space, and infrastructure needed now and for the future, that not only enhances the traditional role of a Library, but serves as a gathering place, a hub for community meetings and activities, and a vital resource welcoming to all.

Library Programs: The design offers a large adult library, children’s and teen space and study and reading areas for private reading and reflection. In addition to an expanded book and media collection, the facility will include two Maker Spaces, equipped with 3D printers, large format scanner and printer, embroidery machines and computers with design software to foster creativity for both adults and children, and a resource for companies and organizations. Various sized rooms for meetings, studying, and tutoring will be equipped with state-of-the-art audio/visual equipment, laptop and computer access, as well as expanded digital communications technology.

Some possibilities made possible by the new facility include:

Adult Literacy Program

Expansion of the highly-popular and respected 40-year old Adult Literacy Program as well as the myriad of other programs for children and adults that have been limited due to space and technology;

Adult Literacy Program

Expansion of the highly-popular and respected 40-year old Adult Literacy Program as well as the myriad of other programs for children and adults that have been limited due to space and technology;

Read more

Student Learning

Expansion and development of new programs to support parents who are home schooling and work with schools for activities that enhance and expand student learning;

Hi-tech Equipment

Offering hi-tech equipment such as 3D printers in its “Maker Space” to not only help children and adults explore their talents, interests, and career pursuits, but also to provide this technology to help businesses and organizations design and produce marketing and other materials;

Education and Job Training

Expansion of programs with business and industry, providing education and job training, and disseminating cutting-edge concepts to build a more prepared workforce which will elevate the regional housing and business markets;

Digital Access

Increased access to a wider variety of literary works through digital outreach, online programs, virtual book clubs, and other novel programs to inspire, educate, and entertain people of all ages.

Resource Center: Building on its role as a community resource, this stately 31,485 square foot facility offers ample gathering space and new venues for outreach, partnership, and community development. The addition of a 110-seat auditorium places Kennett Library & Resource Center in a select group nationally, offering exciting programs that inspire, entertain, and educate people of all ages, interests and walks of life, drawing people to Kennett to experience and enjoy all it has to offer. Additionally, the new facility will provide opportunities to promote, highlight and advance the arts, cultural, and historic strengths of the Region.

As a community resource, the new Kennett Library & Resource Center will:

Meeting Space

Provide flexible meeting space for use by nonprofit organizations, community groups, businesses, schools and civic organizations;

Meeting Space

Provide flexible meeting space for use by nonprofit organizations, community groups, businesses, schools and civic organizations;

Community Forum

Offer a forum to gather people together to learn about community issues, provide input, and engage fully as members of a Civil Society;

Community Events

Host community events including educational programs, speakers, movies and community activities such as TED Talks and other programs to inspire, educate, and entertain;

Multi-cultural Programs

Offer small and large group multi-cultural programs focused on the needs and interests of the diverse population that represent our community;

Art & Culture

Showcase local talent through the exhibits in the central Gallery space to inspire others to pursue their own talents, and foster a greater appreciation of the role of art and culture in the prosperity and future of the community;

Cultural History

Celebrate Kennett’s rich and remarkable cultural history by special recognition of Bayard Taylor and Harriet Tubman, as well as a community mural to be painted on the 10-foot retaining wall behind the library.

Free Movies

Focusing on the needs of those who are economically challenged, weekly movies, free of charge, can be offered, providing a welcomed respite to those whose lives are defined by a daily struggle for essential needs.

Kennett Library has been a vital force for progress over its 125-year history. Programs such as its highly recognized Adult Literacy Program (ALP), including English as a Second Language (ESL), continue to change so many lives. Working with partners in the community, the Library strengthens the local workforce by providing opportunities to develop knowledge and skills needed for gainful employment. Please take a look at the Library’s website at to see a list of programs now offered.

Building Plans

Two years ago, the Board of Trustees identified a site within the Borough of Kennett Square on which to build the new Kennett Library & Resource Center. Located at the corner of State and Willow Streets our new home will stand as a beacon to all and a magnificent gateway to the Kennett Square business district. At a time when our community needs a lift, building the Kennett Library & Resource Center will lead us forward.

Under Library Trustees Brad Peiper and Loren Pearson’s leadership, the project has completed the design development phase and is currently undergoing “value engineering” (a technical term for cost-cutting). The current estimated cost is $18 million for the building, finishes and equipment. Considerable site work has been done, including purchasing two additional lots, obtaining predevelopment approvals and engaging an extraordinary team of project professionals.

We are now preparing the construction documents, and will go out for bid May 2021. Actual construction is projected to begin in July 2021 for completion by the end of 2022.

Key Project Dates

Design Development
Jan. 15, 2020 – Nov. 15, 2020

Construction Documents
Nov. 16, 2020 – May 18, 2021

Subcontract Bidding
May 24, 2021 – July 9, 2021

Permits in Place
Jun. 16, 2020 – Sept 7, 2021

July 23, 2021 – Dec. 30, 2022

Operating Costs

The current Library has a full-time and part-time staff of 17. The 2020 operating budget was $976,548.

The bulk of our resources come from the eight surrounding municipalities. Some have dedicated taxes, others make contributions as part of their annual budget process or pay their “Fair Share,” which is a formula based on: 1) Assessed property values, 2) Library usage, 3) Population, and 4) Library cardholders. Below is a map of the municipalities we serve.

The Kennett Library also conducts two annual appeals, which in 2019 generated $120,111. The Board also held a fund raising event at the Stone Barn, featuring Victoria Wyeth as guest speaker, which generated $60,000. The Library also has a small operating endowment.

It has been projected that it will take a full-time and part-time staff of 22 to run the new library. While the amount of space will about triple, the staffing will not even double. This is largely because the design of the library will improve sightlines and functions, as well as an expected increase in the use of volunteers. The Board of Trustees established a “Friends of the Kennett Library” to assist with marshalling volunteer resources.

Here are the expected new positions:

  • Assistant Library Director

  • Room and auditorium administrator/ scheduler

  • Volunteer Coordinator

  • Development Director

  • Maker Space / Program coordinator/administrator

The expected increase in operating expense (building and staff) will be approximately $300,000 per annum. To fund this cost, the Kennett Library has begun building its annual giving, special event and planned giving programs, which we anticipate will take a few years. The Library has a current Operating Reserve of $2.7 million which can be used to supplement future expenses.

If you would like to make a planned gift to the Kennett Library, we would be happy to send you a copy of our Partner With Us brochure and information on the new Kennett Library Legacy Society.

Imagine That You Can Help Make This Happen

The total cost for construction is $18,000,000 which will be raised through a capital campaign focused on charitable gifts from the community, and public sector support from the eight municipalities in our service area and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The Library will also dedicate the proceeds generated from the sale of the Ways Lane site and current Library property to the new building.
The Campaign will focus on two key initiatives:

$15,000,000 Community Campaign

will reach out to the community, asking individuals, foundations, corporations, businesses, organizations, and groups to support and partner with us to construct this facility that will be a vital community resource for generations to come. We are grateful to all who have supported this dream through the years, and invite our friends in the community to join them to help bring this dream to reality.

$15,000,000 Community Campaign

will reach out to the community, asking individuals, foundations, corporations, businesses, organizations, and groups to support and partner with us to construct this facility that will be a vital community resource for generations to come. We are grateful to all who have supported this dream through the years, and invite our friends in the community to join them to help bring this dream to reality.

$3,000,000 Public Sector Support

including funding from Local Townships, and Municipalities and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania which has supported our programs and operations through the years. We are grateful for this partnership and their support of this project which assures that our communities will have access to these valuable resources long into the future.

Campaign Overview

Campaign Overview

Campaign Goal


Remaining to Goal – $9,186,823

Funding Breakdown

Private Philanthropy Status

Total $3,537,838

(28% of Private Philanthropy Goal)

Library Milestones


New Library Milestones

November 2017:
Contract signed with RRMM/Lukmire Architects

December 2018:
Schematic design approved

October 2019:
Purchase completed of 3 lots at State & Willow Streets for new Library

January 2020:
Contract signed with project construction manager EDiS

Design development phase initiated

February 2020:
LEED integrated into project work plan

July 2020:
Kennett Square Borough Council approves design for new Library

August 2020:
Kennett Square Zoning Hearing Board approves necessary waivers

September 2020:
Design development completed; value engineering begins

Projected Milestones

November 2020:
Construction document phase begins

March 2021:
Sub-Contractor bidding and selection initiated

July 2021:
Groundbreaking and construction begins

Late 2022/Early 2021:
Library opens

How to Help

Together we can make the dream of a new KENNETT LIBRARY & RESOURCE CENTER become a reality. Your gift is an investment in the future of the Kennett region and in the lives of people who call it home. Individuals, families, and organizations today, and those for generations to come, will benefit from your vision and support of this important community project. There are many ways you can give… and all gifts are greatly needed, and deeply appreciated!

Outright Gifts

Outright gifts paid through cash, check, securities, or other charitable methods that best meet your philanthropic and financial needs.

Outright Gifts

Outright gifts paid through cash, check, securities, or other charitable methods that best meet your philanthropic and financial needs.


Pledges that can be paid over a period of 3-5 years.

Matching Gifts

Matching Gifts which can double the impact of your gift through a corporate matching gift program.

Tribute Gifts

Tribute Gifts made in memory of a loved one or friend, or given to celebrate holidays, birthdays or milestones, with acknowledgement sent to the person or organization that is being honored.

Planned Gifts

Planned Gifts through your will or estate, or various planned gifts can provide significant tax benefits for the donor while helping the Kennett Library & Resource Center to have greater impact on the community, now and into the future.

Recognition Opportunities

Additionally, various naming opportunities, room plaques, and other forms of recognition are available at various giving levels and areas of interest. More information is available below. We are happy to work with you to find ways to give that best meets your philanthropic needs and interests.

For more information, please reach out to Mary Hutchins by calling (302) 547-2089 or email

“To accomplish great things, we must not only act, but also dream; not only plan, but also believe.”
– Anatole France

The campaign is pleased to have amazing and dedicated community leadership. Mandy Cabot and Peter Kjellerup, Founders of Dansko, together with Paul Redman, President & CEO of Longwood Gardens are serving as Honorary Co-Chairs of the Campaign. Collis Townsend is serving as Chair of the Campaign Cabinet comprised of community leaders and philanthropists, and Jeff Yetter, as President of the Library Board of Trustees, is working with the Board members, Library Friends, and others to provide leadership and governance oversight for the project and campaign.

Recognition Opportunities

Proper Naming Opportunities
Proper Naming of The Kennett Library & (Name) Resource Center – $5,000,000
Proper Naming of The Auditorium – $3,000,000
Proper Naming of Children’s Library & Stacks – $1,500,000
Proper Naming of the Terrace – $1,500,000
Plaque Opportunities
Adult Library & Stacks
First Floor Lobby
First Floor Art & Exhibition Gallery
Bayard Taylor Room (Committed)
Adult Makerspace
Children’s Classroom
Circulation Desk
Quiet Reading & Reflection Room
Young Adult Library and Stacks
Audio-Visual Technology
Adult Literacy Classrooms (2)
Children’s Makerspace (Committed)
Multi-Purpose Rooms (2)
Second Floor Lobby
Solar Panels for Renewable Energy
Adult Library Furnishings
Adult Literacy Offices
Office of the Director
Staff Suite & Meeting Room
Young Adult Group Study Room (Committed)
Children’s Library Furnishing (Committed)
Group Study Rooms
Tutor Rooms (4)
Adult Makerspace Technology (Committed)
Campus Landscaping (Committed)
Children’s Makerspace Technology (Committed)

Donors whose cumulative giving reaches $50,000 & above are inducted into the Legacy Society and are recognized at a special donor reception and on the Legacy Society Donor Plaque.

All donors who give $10,000 & above are recognized on the main donor plaque. Donor plaques will be placed on various rooms and areas of the facility in keeping with the levels below.

All donors are recognized by level of giving in the Annual Report and on the Website. Donors can choose to remain anonymous.

Join Us

The Kennett Library is a place of imagination, discovery, connectedness, and community. With your help, we can build this 21st Century Kennett Library & Resource Center which will serve the community for generations to come. Together, we can provide opportunities for people of all ages and all walks of life to gain the knowledge, skills, and confidence to have a better quality of life, and provide the resources to bring people together to build and strengthen our community. Thank you.

Board of Trustees

Jeff Yetter, President
Appointed by Kennett Twp.
Bradley Peiper, Vice President
Appointed by Pocopson Twp.
Victoria Gilrane, CPA, Treasurer
William Majarian, Secretary

Barbara Bolton
Appointed by New Garden Twp.
Gail L. Bowden
Chris Britt
Todd Bruce
Appointed by Pennsbury Twp.
RuthAnn Deveney
Appointed by Kennett Square
Jim DiLuzio
Appointed by New Garden Twp.
Margaret Egli
Appointed by East Marlborough Twp.
Barbara Forney
Appointed by Newlin Twp.
Michael Guttman
Chris Larsen
Appointed by Pocopson Twp.
Dr. Brenda Mercomes
Appointed by Kennett Square
Barbara Necarsulmer
Appointed by Pennsbury Twp.
Dr. Loren Pearson
Appointed by Newlin Twp.
David Sleasman
Collis O. Townsend
Appointed by Kennett Twp.
Thomas C. Swett
Appointed by East Marlborough Twp.

Major Donors

$1,000,000 & Above
$750,000 – $999,99
Cabot Kjellerup Foundation*
$500,000 – $749,999
East Marlborough Township
Kennett Township
New Garden Township
Welfare Foundation
$250,000 – $499,999
Downes Estate†
Ann and Steve Hutton
Michael and Nancy Pia
$100,000 – $249,999
Borough of Kennett Square
Michael and Audrey F. Donohue
Forney Family Foundation
Kennett Library Board of Trustees
Jennifer and Bob McNeil
Newlin Township
Julie Noolan
Pennsbury Township
Donald and Suzanne† Phillips
Charles and Patricia Robertson
Tri-M Group, LLC
Welfare Foundation
$50,000 – $99,999
Mark & Gail Bowden*
Crystal Trust
John and Carlene Jackson
Exelon Corporation
Michael and Anne Moran
Debbie and Bob Norris*
Walter J. and Carol Yetter*
West Marlborough Township
$25,000 – $49,999
Chichester duPont Foundation
The Davenport Foundation
Rob and Marcy Fenza
Stephanie Jackson†
William R. Landmesser †
Dr. Richard and Sara Leff
Marmot Foundation
Wendy and Leonard Orlando-Cotton
Duer and Edna Bennett Pierce
Morris and Boo Stroud
Lynn Wachman and Mike Guttman*
West Marlborough Township
WSFS Community Foundation


* Board or Cabinet Member
† Deceased


Campaign Leadership

Honorary Campaign Co-Chairs
Mandy Cabot and Peter Kjellerup
Paul Redman

Chair, Campaign Cabinet
Collis Townsend

Cabinet Members
Barbara Cairns
Larry Bosley
Robert Fenza
Matt Fetick
Barbara Forney
Buzz Hannum, Jr.
Steve and Ann Hutton
Bob Norris

Library Trustees

Jeff Yetter

Brad Peiper
Vice President

Tom Swett
Chairman Emeritus


Mary Hutchins
Development Associate

Megan Walters
Library Director