America's oldest free library may close

Out of our time period, but a sad commentary on the financial crisis in the United States: Delaware County's Darby Free Library (Pennsylvania) is one of eleven libraries destined to close their doors due to lack of funding. The library "is believed to be the oldest continuously operating public library in America."

Library director Susan Borders hoped to hold on for several more years, but believes that they will have to close at the end of the year. The library is funded by a percentage of real estate taxes with an additional $28,000 in state funds. In recent years, it has had to use interest from its endowment to cover operating expenses and capital improvements. "This year, expenses are projected at $85,353, which will create a $27,653 shortfall."

From the article:

Raymond Trent, a longtime bibliographic assistant at the University of Pennsylvania Law School said that Darby must find a way to keep its library open. Or someone with deep pockets, who understands its value, needs to step up to the plate. "I just hope," he said, "that Darby library is able to hang in there."

Tax-deductible contributions can be sent to the Darby Library Company, P.O. Box 164, Darby, PA 19023.