The Friends organization is a voluntary, non-profit organization

The mission of the organization is promoting the needs of the Library’s patrons and expanding utilization of its facilities.

The Chestnut Hill Library Friends: committed to making our library, one of the best community libraries, even better

Founded in the 1970s, the Chestnut Hill Library Friends is an organization of community members dedicated to promoting knowledge of the needs and values of our library and to raising funds and encouraging gifts for its support. 


The Chestnut Hill Library Friends has become an organization of hundreds of households whose members contribute thousands of hours of their time to supporting the Library through major fund-raising events, providing garden maintenance, shelving of books, assisting librarians, and planning events to build Library use and awareness.

Monies raised by the Friends have enabled it to provide:

  • Books, DVDs and musical and audio CDs
  • Funds for speakers and refreshments for adult and children’s programs
  • Sponsorship and hosting the Chestnut Hill Library website
  • A beautiful garden featuring a variety of native plants
  • Enhancements in the library’s physical structure
  • New library furniture, including bookcases, magazine & display racks and an atlas stand
  • Support for the children and teens–and this year also for an adults’–summer reading programs
  • Other needed equipment and supplies not provided by the city’s budget 

 The Friends of the Chestnut Hill Library is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit charity – your donation is tax deductible. 


Dear Friends of the Chestnut Hill Library,

For many years, every Monday at noon, a stalwart group of volunteers removed tables from storage closets, set them up along the perimeter of the library’s Community Room, and then began the assembly line process of passing columns of boxed books from the storage closet to the tables. At five o’clock, the end of their day, the volunteers reversed the process.

It was a lot of work.

What happened in the room did not look like fundraising, but it was. All of the sale books were donated. The Friends sold hardbacks for one dollar, large paperbacks for fifty cents, and small paperbacks and children’s books for twenty-cents. 

Discussions of raising prices to increase revenue for the library were fruitless. Reneé Polsky who organized the sale and the volunteers insisted our prices stay affordable for all.

All the proceeds of the sale went to the library.

Along with membership donations, the book sale donations supplemented the $400 program and activity allotment given to the branch librarian.  The Friends would love to keep our book sale going, but it is labor intensive, and the weekly ritual while joyous in the community camaraderie it engenders and the bargains it offers, is physically burdensome.

Too burdensome to continue.

We find ourselves at a crossroads, not sure what direction to take, not sure what transition to make.

We have some ideas – a semi-annual sale, maybe during the Spring and Fall Festivals on Germantown Avenue, maybe a neighborhood used book store.

We invite you to help us. 

If you have experience or ideas about how we can reinvent the sale, please, let us know.
We thank the patrons who donated books, the book buyers, the library staff who helped with the weekly set up, and the volunteers who faithfully showed up on book sale Mondays and special book sale events. 

Those volunteers are

  • Reneé  Polsky*
  • Sandy Drinker
  • Beth Bartle
  • Jane Benge
  • Nancy Bramson
  • Lyn Buchheit
  • Kenna Adatte
  • Walt Leader
  • Carol Romsloe
  • Marlene Sider
  • Nancy Trexler
  • Molly Turman
  • Caroline Wistar

Thank you for your understanding, cooperation and hopefully your involvement in helping us re-invent and renew the Friends Gently Used Book Sale.


Phyllis Donahue

Friends of the Chestnut Hill Library

Remembering Reneé Polsky

As many of you know,  Reneé Polsky died in September of 2019. Over the years, Renee served the Friends in many capacities – as President, Vice President, and the Book Sale Committee Chairperson. For many neighbors and library patrons, Renee was the face of the Friends. At the weekly sale, she made book recommendations, schmoozed with the regulars, and always, always had a joke to tell. Her commitment to the sale was rooted in her belief in the importance of a free library system. A former teacher, Renee believed entrance to the library was an entrance to understanding the world.  

Friends Organization accomplishments and contributions

 In 1991 the Friends contributed to a modern brick addition, designed by Cecil Baker and Associates. It was attached to the back of the library by a glassed in passageway. The addition received the Pennsylvania Society of Architects Design Award in 1997. 

The library was renovated in 1999 as part of the "Changing Lives" campaign, which brought Internet service to every branch. Active support is provided by the Friends of the Chestnut Hill Library, founded in the 1970s. 

The Chestnut Hill Library Friends sponsored improvements to the building including a completely new roof and new freestanding wooden shelves as well as carpeting, furnishings and computers. The Friends’ weekly book sale continues to enable the library to add books and other educational material to its collection.

In 2001, the Friends of the Chestnut Hill Library decided to spend some of the monies donated by members of the Friends to improve the plantings around the Library building. A committee was formed, and the planning began.

The decision was made to begin at the front of the building, and then tackle the left side, where a path led to the new side entrance, a handicapped entrance to the building, as well as to the CHCA Parking Foundation parking lot at the back.

A few years later, in 2006, we tackled the back and right side of the Library property. 

In 2013 the Free Library utilities department removed the HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) equipment visible from the Library lobby, which allowed the planting of a viewing garden.  Denis Lucey, garden designer, helped plan and plant that garden, which was completed during the summer months.

Most recently, the Friends have purchased high-demand library materials, a bike rack, the big colorful plant vases out front and in the pergola, a little library with the message “Leave a book, take a book”,  renovation of the storage closet including two shelving unit


The Chestnut Hill Library Friends Board of Directors & Committees

Click the Button  below to see a list of members of the Board of Directors and a list of Friends Committees

The Chestnut Hill Library Friends

 Email your questions and comments to


Your support and contributions will enable the Chestnut Hill Library Friends make our library, one of the best community libraries, even better.

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Friends of the Chestnut Hill Library Merchant Sponsors