by Stan Cutler

For more than 10 years, the Board of Directors of the Friends of the Chestnut Hill Library have had the pleasure of working with Mike Henry, a great guy and a great volunteer. Our dedicated treasurer has kept The Friends of the Chestnut Hill Library’s ledger, signed checks and managed our funds. He was so good at his job that we never worried about our little cache of donation income or overseeing how the money was being spent.

Unfortunately, he recently announced his retirement. All of us on the board say to our retiring treasurer: “Thank you, Mike, for all of your work and your commitment to the Friends.”

If the Friends are to continue functioning as a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit charity, we are required to have an official treasurer. Would you like the job? Using software like Excel or QuickBooks should reduce the time commitment to one or two hours a week. You would be doing your community a great service. If you’re interested, drop us a note on the “Contacts” page at

Our organization is growing, the number of members doubled in the past few years and the number of members who make annual donations continues to grow. These days, people are constantly reminded of how vital a public library is to the health of a community. A public library is no longer just a collection of books. It is a space where everyone in the community has access to every medium of knowledge transfer.

As one of the few public spaces in Chestnut Hill that is not devoted to commerce or religion, the library serves as a hub for community improvement. We run learning programs for citizens of all ages and backgrounds, doing what we can to maintain the building as a welcoming public space. We volunteer to further the Free Library of Philadelphia’s mission: “To advance literacy, guide learning, and inspire curiosity… to build an enlightened community devoted to lifelong learning.”

Are you in favor of “an enlightened community?”

As we continue to increase the number of events and activities at the library, our Friends Organization needs to not only expand our membership base and increase donations, we also need to recruit people to help us do the work. Consider how you can help – as a Board Member, a Committee Chairperson or as a volunteer – with events, fundraising or membership.

The Friends have organized a speaker series featuring local experts on all manner of subjects. Next week, during Black History Month, hear stories told to Willadine Bain by her great-grandmother and grandparents, about her ex-slave grandfather who became a Savannah millionaire, why her grandmother’s first husband died in a duel and about the precious gold necklace, among other stories. Mrs. Bain, author of the “The Gold Necklace,” is a Howard graduate who retired from the School District of Philadelphia as an Assistant Director of Curriculum.

“An African American Family’s Experiences of Slavery, Repression and Struggle,” Mrs. Bain’s talk, will be held on Tuesday Feb. 11, at 1:30 p.m., at the library at 8711 Germantown Ave. Seats for this free event can be reserved on our website, Walk-ins are welcome, but you may have to stand as seats are limited.