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Free Library of Philadelphia, Board of Trustees of the

[Record group 154]
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Agency Function
The mission of the Free Library is to provide to all segments of the City's population a comprehensive collection of recorded knowledge, ideas, artistic expression and information; assure ease of access to these materials; and offer programs that stimulate the awareness and use of these resources.

Agency History
The Free Library of Philadelphia, initially established through private donations, was incorporated and granted a charter in 1891. The Board of Trustees of the Free Library of Philadelphia was established in 1894 to enable the Library to receive appropriations from the City. Established by an ordinance of December 31, 1894, succeeding a group privately incorporated in 1891 under a similar name. It was composed of the Mayor and Presidents of both Councils ex-officio, a member chosen by each Council, and eighteen other citizens designated by the ordinance, vacancies among whom were filled alternately by the Mayor and the remaining trustees. They have continuously administered the City's system of free libraries. The City Charter of 1951 directed that all twenty two members be appointive (eighteen for life) and added to the Board the Commissioner of the Department of Recreation.

Archival Records
154.1 Annual Reports (1896, 1903, 1916-1918, 1922, 1930-1950, 1952-1989, 1992, 1993)

154.2 Reports and Publications (1926-1965)

154.3 Treasurer's Statements (1893-1896. 1907-1908)

154.4 Treasurer's Statements, George S. Pepper Fund (1893-1901)

154.5 Bank Books (1895-1937; missing 1907)

154.6 Dues Record, Free Library Association (1893)

154.7 Insurance Policies Register (1903-1905, 1909-1927)

154.8 Specifications for the Erection and Completion of the Building for the Free Library of Philadelphia. (ca. 1921)

Current Records

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Last updated on November 8, 2000