It’s A Dog’s Life At The Haverford Township No-So-Free Library

Librarian Claims Firing Over Seeing Eye Dog:

— The writer of this article is a patron of Haverford Township Free Library. Out of concern for that relationship she has asked to remain anonymous

With Golden Retriever Henry close by her side, Deborah Rosan is as articulate as she is thoughtful, an impressive combination for someone who has recently been fired from her job of almost 10 years. “They had an opportunity to Do Good in this world” Rosan says, “and they refused it”. The good she is referring to takes us back to Henry, the guide dog puppy Rosan and her family are currently fostering. “We receive the puppies when they’re 2-3 months old, and keep them
for about a year and a half. Our main job is to expose the pups to as wide a range of experiences as possible, so that they’ll be effective guide dogs when they mature.” Indeed, Rosan’s first foster, Ethel, was a regular visitor to Haverford
Township Library, snoozing under the front desk for a full shift weekly as Deborah worked. But with a switch of library Directors came a switch of policy; the guide dogs in training, many of whom will go to Iraq and Afghanistan War Veterans,
were no longer welcome. Rosan took her request to the head of the Library Board, to have it denied again.

More after the jump.

Haverford Township Free Library’s problem is, the law is on Rosan’s side. The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania protects those who train and handle guide dogs just as those who will later use them. “Denying access is not only unconscionable” Rosan says “it is against the law”. Rosan thought seriously about bringing Henry despite the ban, but decided against it, for the dog’s sake. Rosan laughs, a loving twinkle in her eyes “Henry is a very sensitive fellow” she explains “I have no doubt he would have picked up on the tension, and ultimately I would have done him a disservice with that kind of experience”. And why the laughter, I ask “At about fifty pounds, he might not be the best personality to make this particular point. He thinks he’s a lap dog” she smiles “and he is quite sure that every time I sit down, I am a lap; it actually can cause a bit of a scene”.

So one night, when she was not scheduled to work, Deborah and Henry Dog, as she calls him, went to the library just for a visit. Which led to her being fired. “Insubordination” was what was written in her letter of termination, the incident with her guide dog puppy was referred to verbally at the meeting during which she was handed that letter.

“Ignorant and self righteous” is how Rosan describes the leadership of the library. Nor is the irony lost on her, she continues “that individuals whose very profession equips them with the skills to gather accurate information and then disseminate it to the public, would behave this way, is astounding”.

What would right the wrong? Among other things, Rosan suggests, “A sign posted on the library front door reading: Haverford Township Free Library Welcomes Service Dogs and Service Dogs in Training”. Rosan is filing complaints with the Pennsylvania Human Relations Board and the EEOC. She has named Haverford Township Free Library, Haverford Township and the Delaware County Library System in the complaint.



  1. Publisher says

    This past Tuesday Rosan took her dog again, she is no longer an employee and was asked to leave. When she did not,  the police were called.  The official police report says:

    Sgt Redding and I spoke to both parties and determined the presence of Rosan and her “service” dog to be lawful…

    There is a Haverford Library Association meeting followed by a Board meeting on Wednesday, May 16, 2012, 7pm at the Haverford Township Free Library on 1601 Darby Road. Can you please attend on behalf of what is right?  Please ask the library to allow Rosan and other foster families of future service dogs, to  be allowed to peacefully visit the library with their pups. This is not merely the law; this is the right thing for the library to do.  Please come to this meeting and speak up.  There is opportunity to have your voice heard.  If you are uncomfortable talking to the group, perhaps you would consider holding a modest sign with your message on it.

    Thank you very much for all the support you have already shown me, and please feel free to pass this on to any individuals you think might be interested.


  2. Events101 says

    I am beyond appalled to read this story. How narrow minded and stupid can a library board/management get!? I hope Rosan takes this all the way to court – she is in the right. This is discriminatory. I don’t know what the EEOC is but surely the law against discrimination of the disabled is also on her side. I would look into those groups too. Service dogs are allowed EVERYWHERE – and though not a qualified service dog, one in training is the same thing!! How are you supposed to train a guide dog if you can’t expose him to public areas. OR do blind people not go to libraries? This is totally wrong and outrageous.

    • Philly_Health says

      Any way you read this article there are 2 facts that stand out

      1.) Ms Rosan was expecting to be paid by the residents of Haverford township to raise a puppy. (Doesn’t seem fair to the tax payers of said township)


      2.) We assume Ms. Rosan focused on herjob and chose to allow a puppy to be in harms way (stepped on or rolled over by chairs, run underfoot of co-workers and customers???) in a public building – which if you follow the comments on the related Fox Philly site by professional assistance dog raisers- she was not legally allowed to do. (A few simple google searches validated that – Apparently Fox news hasn’t heard of google yet)  

      I am a dog lover and tax payer –  What is the real agenda here for the folks driving this “false cause” ???? and why is no one questioning it?  

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