Curbside Pickup Hours

Monday & Wednesday 2 - 7

Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday 10 - 3

Sunday Closed

About BAPL


Who We Are

The Bradford Area Public Library's service area includes the City of Bradford, Bradford, Corydon, Foster, and Lafayette Townships, and the Borough of Lewis Run. Our fully accessible facility, located on West Washington Street, was built in 1991. Our services, programs, and dedicated staff continue to honor the promise engraved over the entrance to Bradford's original 1901 Carnegie Library: we remain "Free to the People".

Bradford Area Public Library (BAPL) is part of the Seneca Library District (seventeen member libraries in the counties of Cameron, Elk, Forest, McKean, and Warren). 

The Seneca Library District

The public libraries of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania are divided among 29 geographic regions called districts. The Seneca District, named for the historic home of the Native American Seneca tribes, is located in Northwestern Pennsylvania.

As a part of the Seneca system, BAPL coordinates with the District Center Library, Warren Public Library, which provides services to all member libraries, including counsel, training, reference and information service, interlibrary loan and delivery service.  Warren Public Library also acts as a liaison between the District and Commonwealth Libraries and is spearheading an effort for Seneca District libraries to offer e-books, in affordable ways, through OverDrive (a digital media service provider).  In late 2011, BAPL elected to join this shared-cost e-books' initiative. 

Today, BAPL houses a collection of 45,000+ volumes and provides public meeting space, Mondy and Friday story hours, a summer reading program, public access computers and free Wi-Fi.   BAPL also participates in the county-wide cooperative materials database (a unified catalogue of materials in all five McKean County public libraries).



Like many Pennsylvania and New York libraries founded in the late 1800s and early 1900s, Bradford Area Public Library (BAPL) was started with a $25,000 grant from Andrew Carnegie.  A stipulation of the grant was that the building be on a site with good light and that the city guarantees its upkeep at a cost of $3,000 per year.  Two small feeder libraries were combined at the newly constructed site to form Bradford's Carnegie Library.   A new librarian (Mr. Fletcher from Buffalo) was retained to combine the two smaller collections in the newest library techniques (Melvil Dewey). 


One of its longest tenured librarians, E. Grace Steele, was known for "valiantly fighting ignorance" during her 1920-1959 tenure. In 1991, the Library was required to meet new building and structural codes.  Rather than paying for the extensive renovations that were necessary, the Board decided to construct a new building with among other things, enough parking, handicap access, a roof that didn't leak and adequate electrical service. 

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To provide the resources to inform, educate and enrich our community in a way that demonstrates:

  • Literacy
  • Equal access and diversity
  • Life-long learning
  • Fiscal responsiblity and integrity
  • BAPL's rich heritage


To be a recognized premier library in service to our community.

Adopted by the Board of Trustees, April 2012


To see our most recent Strategic Plan, please click here.

To see our policies click on each of the links below. The table of contents is linked to all pages for easy access:


Mission, Vision, and Bylaws


Human Resources





How You Can Help

You can help the Bradford Public Library in a number of ways.

  • Become a volunteer
  • Contribute through our annual giving campaign
  • Make a Tribute in honor or memory of someone special - Donations are acknowledged with personalized bookplates and note of thanks.  Contribute online, by mail or stop by the library.

          o   Make a Tribute online

          o   See our list of those who have been remembered or celebrated

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Leave A Legacy: A Message from the  Resource Development Committee

As a lover of books and libraries, if you are interested in preserving our Library, a bequest to the Bradford Area Public Library could assure that the Library continues its role of providing resources to enrich lives, foster literacy, inspire intellectual curiosity, and stimulate imagination. 

The Bradford Area Public Library is building the future. Regardless of what technology lies ahead, the Library will continue to be the major source of information, education and entertainment for the entire community. The Library will help ensure that users can access the assets they need without regard to age, education, ethnicity, language, income, physical limitations or geographic barriers, as the digital world continues to evolve. The Library's mission has expanded to managing public access to the latest technology and serving growing numbers of patrons. 

Library users today look to knowledgeable professionals to help them not only accurately research books, databases, and periodicals; but also navigate government bureaucracy, apply for benefits, access social services, and more; all online.  With the Library usage on the increase in ways no one expected, let me explain why a bequest to the Bradford Area Public Library is so important. 

Quite simply put, the Bradford Area Public Library's primary funding streams, primarily government sources, are shrinking more and more each year. The only way for the Library to maintain the budget it needs to operate is by increasing the library's trust accounts. 

Here are a few facts to illustrate:   

  • State revenue continues to decline. While state funding represents 25 percent of the Library's annual revenue, it has decreased 29 percent in the past three years.
  • Local government funding, which accounts for 16 percent of the total budget, has been flat for 15 years.
  • The Bradford Area School District's contribution to the Library represents 20 percent of the budget; a small increase in 2010 was the first in more than a decade.

      Even with government funding in place, the Library's flexibility to manage its operations is restricted by government regulations. For example, the Library is required to spend 12 percent of its yearly budget on materials.  But materials expenditures do not include the hardware and software needed to meet customer demand for Internet resources, a demand that has increased exponentially.  These necessary expenditures become, in effect, unfunded mandates.

  • During the past five years, the Library has reduced expenses, cutting its budget 36 percent from $371,941 to $240,742 in 2012 to address shrinking government support.
  • Unfortunately expense cuts come at a time when economic conditions have resulted in an increased demand for free user services, such as public access technology services, which are used at a 90+ percent capacity.
  • During the past five years, the number of cardholders has increased from 6,117 to 8,222; a rate of 34 percent.  During this same period, total funding dropped 32 percent and the budget expenses were slashed 36 percent.  During 2012, the Library averaged 74 new cardholders each month.          
  • Computer usage has grown exponentially during this period. In a rural   community like Bradford, the Library is one place where people can access the Internet. They may not have a computer or broadband at the home, and they need these computers at the library to do things like fill out job applications online, to do job searches, to fill out government e-forms, etc.  

Bequests of any amount will be appreciated. Thank you sharing this information with interested parties.   


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Monday & Wednesday 10:00 am - 7:00 pm

Tuesday, Thursday, Friday 10:00 am - 5:00 pm

Saturday 10:00 am - 2:00 pm

Sunday Closed

Bradford Area
Public Library

67 West Washington St
Bradford PA 16701-1234
Phone: 814-362-6527
Mission: To provide the resources to inform, educate and enrich our community in a way that demonstrates:
  • Literacy
  • Equal access and diversity
  • Life-long learning
  • Fiscal responsibility and integrity
  • BAPL's rich heritage

Vision: To be a recognized premier library in service to our community.