The memorandum of understanding leaves important details to be negotiated, but aims to make the Rosenbach a subsidiary of the library by June 30.
Such a deal would likely require the approval of the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General, and, depending on the way it is structured, perhaps also of Orphans’ Court.
What is definite is that the Rosenbach will not alter its operation in a way the public would notice except for a change in signage, and to the extent that its collections and other materials would have a much wider audience in generous display spaces at the Free Library’s central library. Leaders of both said the merger makes great sense given that in some areas – Shakespeare, for instance – one library’s collection helps complete the other’s.
Money is ultimately driving the merger. Though the Rosenbach laid off much of its staff in June after being hit with a deficit, no immediate crisis exists, leaders say. Organized through a trust from 1950, it has no mortgage or debt, and its endowment has grown through gifts in perpetuity that underwrite specific staff jobs. But operating grants are harder to land, and by living within its means the library and museum is not realizing its potential, says board chair Arthur Spector.
“All this requires operating at a very tight, low level, and I don’t think the collection deserves that,” said Spector, who first approached the Free Library Foundation in May.
MUCH More in the Full Text Article
Take a Look at the Rosenbach Museum and Library Collection Guide
See Also: Links to Rosenbach Online Catalogs