For Release: Immediately
Department of External Affairs
Free Library of Philadelphia
1901 Vine Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103-1189
(215) 567-7710
FAX (215) 567-7850
Contact: Communications and Development
For Release: Immediately
Contact: Communications and Development

Free Library of Philadelphia President and Director Siobhan A. Reardon Steps Aside

PHILADELPHIA, July 23, 2020— Today the Free Library of Philadelphia Board of Trustees and the Free Library of Philadelphia Foundation Board of Directors announced that Siobhan A. Reardon is stepping aside as President and Director of the Free Library.

“It has been an incredible 12 years full of highs and lows, and we have achieved much during this time…There is still much work to do toward reaching the Library’s vision of building an enlightened community devoted to lifelong learning. I am sure that the next generation of leadership will get us even closer. I look forward to watching that happen and will continue to be supportive of this wonderful institution going forward,” Reardon said, in her letter to the boards.

“For over a decade, Siobhan Reardon has been inspired by and has worked alongside our incredible library employees, to transform our city’s libraries and position them as sanctuaries that provide books, innovative resources, and programs that uplift Philadelphians across all neighborhoods. We have all been united in that mission, and will continue to be.  We thank Siobhan for vision and leadership these past years; and as we chart a path forward, we will take this opportunity to reset, reimagine, and ensure that we are living up to our purpose by creating a more inclusive and equitable environment for our customers and employees.  We are prioritizing how we can and will do that,” said Pamela Dembe, Chair, Free Library of Philadelphia Board of Trustees.

“Siobhan’s vision led us to look beyond the books on the shelf, and imagine the Library as the central resource for building life skills, cultural enhancement, and civic engagement throughout our community.  Over the last decade, we’ve successfully worked to create a more equitable space for our neighbors; and we are committed to doing the same for our staff,” said Barbara Sutherland, Chair, Free Library of Philadelphia Foundation Board of Directors.

Past Chair of the Board of Trustees Robert C. Heim noted that he was the head of the search committee that led to Reardon’s hiring and cited her many accomplishments, including organizing the Library system into a cluster model so that libraries could better serve their communities; establishing the Library as home of the City’s Poet Laureate and Youth Poet Laureate programs; and, most notably spearheading the Read by 4th campaign, a coalition of partners that has worked with children and families to improve the city’s literacy rate in early grades.

“It will be a challenge indeed to find a visionary leader of her caliber. As I have said to many, I would like my legacy as a former chair of the Board of Trustees to be that I lead the committee that hired Siobhan Reardon,” Heim said.

Reardon has been the President and Director of the Free Library of Philadelphia since September of 2008. The Board of Trustees will be naming an interim replacement as soon as possible.


Department of External Affairs, Free Library of Philadelphia, 1901 Vine Street, Philadelphia, PA 19103-1189
(215) 567-7710, FAX (215) 567-7850