Free Library Welcomes New President

By Shannon G RSS Wed, August 20, 2008

The Free Library of Philadelphia is excited to welcome Siobhan A. Reardon as the new President and Director. She is the first woman to serve as President in the position’s 114-year history. Her selection was the culmination of a ten-month search chaired by Robert Heim and Kent McGuire and conducted by members of the Free Library’s Board of Trustees and the Free Library Foundation Board of Directors.

Before joining the Free Library, Ms. Reardon served as Executive Director of the Westchester Library System in New York, a 38-member cooperative library system. During her time at Westchester, she launched a public relations and branding program, increased county support by 45 percent, and implemented technological enhancements. Prior to that, Ms. Reardon worked as Deputy Executive Director of the Brooklyn Public Library, serving as Deputy Executive Director and Chief Operating Officer of the nation’s fifth largest library system. Her accomplishments during her tenure at the Brooklyn Public Library include tripling the size of the Library’s Foundation and spearheading a $15 million capital campaign for an auditorium and plaza for the Central Library. While there, she also served as Acting Executive Director and Director of Finance. 

Ms. Reardon began her library career at New York Public Library in several finance roles, including Manager of Budget and Planning. She holds a B.A. from SUNY College at Purchase, an M.A. from Fordham University, and an M.L.S. from the Palmer School of Library Science at Long Island University.  

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I wish our new director had more of a vision than what we are currently seeing...
Jack - Phila
Tuesday, December 16, 2008

I wish our new director had more of a vision than what we are currently seeing... - i second that.
Lisa - Philadelphia
Saturday, December 20, 2008

Dear Mrs. Siobhan Reardon Director & President Free Philadelphia Library As daily patrons of the Kingsessing branch library, we are quite puzzled over the selection of the Cobbs Creek branch to stay open over the Kingsessing branch. The Cobbs Creek branch is on the edge of the city, near a street and a 5-point intersection that is very dangerous for drivers, let alone for us walking patrons. The Cobb Creek building is smaller and dilapidated. The Kingsessing branch circulations numbers are higher than the Cobb's Creek branch. We know one of the criteria you used was being accessible to the most patrons within a 2 miles walking distance to justify your choices, but there should have been a thought about the human safety factor. Like the crossing of that dangerous intersection (near 58Th & Baltimore ave.) to get to Cobbs Creek branch by walking patrons. In addition to our children having to walk through tough, drug invested areas and cross gang turfs to get to the Cobb's branch, which will potentially lead to kids fighting. This turf fighting has a past history in this area! This will no doubt put more people in avoidable peril, specially our children. We suggest you try it yourself and see what we mean! Of course our preference would be not to close any library branches at all. But now, we are talking about a real safety Issue. We also know that the Cobb's Creek branch failed more of your statistical "criteria" than the Kingsessing branch did, and you can look at your very own statistics and see this! We implore and plead with you to please review and reevaluate, and reconsider this particular choice. We think keeping the Kingsessing branch open over Cobb's Creek Branch would be a safer, popular, logical and a sounder choice even by your own standards and existing criteria! Cobb's Creek just re-open after some interior renovations. It would have made more sense to us not to re-open it, than to close Kingsessing. a more centrally located branch! The Kingsessing branch is also central to and serves the following schools: Wilson elementary, St. Francis De Sale Catholic school, Comegys elementary school, Shaw Jr. high, Mitchell elementary school, Evelyn Graves school, Renaissance Advantage Charter school, and Richard Allen Preparatory School in which the local teachers and teachers aid, and our kids are able to walk to the Kingsessing branch, which are about a maximum seven blocks away or less. The teachers and students do this two to three times a month or more because most of these schools do not have a Library. They certainly cannot walk to the Cobb's Creek branch or any other branch for that matter! The Kingsessing branch services more schools than Cobb's Creek. The Kingsessing branch building is larger, the conference room at Kingsessing branch can hold nearly 100 people, and the Cobb's Creek branch cannot. We know we have a recreation center at close proximity to the Kingsessing branch, but it does not have books for homework and research or the access hours of the Kingsessing library. A book mobile is not going to cut it because it will not be there after school everyday like our library. And with more and more jobs requiring people to fill out job applications on-line rather than in person the Kingsessing library is the only access to computers for us until the Rec. Ctr. opens. The Kingsessing Recreation Center is now utilized to its full capacity. Adding additional responsibility to this Rec. Ctr. will be overwhelming to impossible. The Rec. Ctr. computers are in use and always packed with children playing on-line games, not studying like at the Kingsessing library. The Kingsessing Recreation center's Theater/ Conference Hall is usually booked for community or social services events. There is no room for any expansion at the Kingsessing Recreation Center at all! There has be other tangibles involve in this decision other than your " within 2 miles walking rule or our proximity to a Rec. Center", sometimes it is about more than statistical numbers. We believe it must and has to factor in our children's schools, safety, convenience, and capacity as foremost priorities and be a major factor in your decision too! Southwest Philadelphia will have open only 1 library (Pascallville branch) with the closing of the Kingsessing & Eastwick branches. And even the Pascallville's branch is dilapidated and smaller compared to the Kingsessings branch. This seems extremely unfair and illogical to the Southwest Philadelphia neighborhoods and residents. There is a plaque hanging just inside the first set of doors to the Kingsessing library that says "This building was given to the City of Philadelphia by Andrew Carnegie ESQ. to be used forever as the Kingsessing Branch of the Free Library of Philadelphia MCMXVIII" that has to be some kind of Trust Violations or Breach of Contract! And that building should NOT be used for anything else but a library. This library branch (Kingsessing) is so vital to our low income neighborhood; with most people with limited income, that owning a computer is unaffordable, and resources like a car is a far off dream. This is one of the poorest neighborhoods in the City of Philadelphia! Lastly, if the Kingsessing Building, 90 years in service as a library, gets to be closed and then utilize for other city services it will lost forever, and never be a library again! Thank You Concern Citizens Of Southwest Philadelphia
Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Kingsessing Library Branch Standings/Rankings in the Branch Selection Criteria How or why was the Kingsessing Branch selected as one of the eleven for closure? When your very own statistics certainly indicates it as a high activity, well utilized branch, even in a low income, high crime area. Below are some of statistics that were compiled from the Free Library of Philadelphia's very own documents. It shows the actual Standings/Rankings of our Library Branch, and it shows the Kingsessing Branch is in the very high rankings in most of these recorded statistics. So we truly are having a hard time comprehending, or understanding the selection of the Kingsessing branch, with its higher usage, over some of the Philadelphia Branches with lesser activities. • Was our selection purely geographically done, without regard for, or factoring in safety issues • Is it our proximity to a Recreation Center? • Our low income/ low tax revenue area? • Is there any other branch surrounded by so many schools as the Kingsessing Branch? • This being an "Andrew Carnegie Branch" to be used Forever as a Library, as the now infamous Plague says. How could this building be utilized for other City services? Yes, we are partial to the Kingsessing Branch, but anyone can see it is not in the bottom of any of your categories as far as usage is concern. We feel at least we deserve a clearer explanation as to why our Kingsessing branch was selected over other Branches that are, according to your very own numbers, indicates that they are below that of Kingsessing! Kingsessing's Circulations Numbers 2006 – 24,235, 2007- 37,921, 2008 – 48,962 Registrations Numbers 2006 – 5,785, 2007 – 5,799, 2008 – 6,101 Turnstile Count 2006 – 64,876, 2007 – 87,332, 2008 – 109,065 -----17th out of the 52 Recorded Branches Computer Usage 2006 – 10,680, 2007 – 16,012, 2008 – 16,464 -------13th out of the 50 Branches Listed Turnover rate Kingsessing – 1.58 --------28th out of the 53 Branches Listed As you can see by these numbers, this is the reason we are seeking a Reason/Explanation for our beloved Kingsessing branch being selected for closure!
Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Welcome aboard, looking forward to you keeping the library moving in the right direction.
James - Philly
Thursday, March 5, 2009

Welcome Siobhan A. Reardon! Will be good to see what your do. :)
Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Welcome aboard!
- Texas
Wednesday, February 3, 2010

I agree previous administration did not do a good job, looking forward to what you can do.
Tim - Philadelphia, PA
Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Not impressed!
Harriet - Philadelphia
Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Free library welcome for new President is really good. In order for the President to gain more knowledge.
- school web design
Sunday, January 23, 2011

What a wonderful story, congratulations Ms. Reardon on your position. Your accomplishments are impressive! Keep up the great work.
Criminal Background Records -
Thursday, March 3, 2011

Me too welcome President by heart after his completing successful achievement journey.Congrats!!!
Logo Design - India
Thursday, May 26, 2011

I hope your directorship is going well and that the Free library continues to add value to the people arounf philly
- - Germantown
Sunday, June 26, 2011

Hi!Welcome Siobhan A. Reardon for new president in Free Library.I just appreciate your entire journey to free library.Great.
Jayati Bhattacharjee - India
Saturday, August 6, 2011