Free Library Leader Leaves To Head Constitution Center

Inquirer staff writer Peter Dobrin reports:

The National Constitution Center has a new leader, at least temporarily.

Linda E. Johnson will become acting president and CEO when Joseph M. Torsella leaves at the end of January.
A member of the Center’s board since 1997, Johnson is resigning as CEO of the Free Library of Philadelphia Library Foundation to take the job. She is a veteran of various boards, from the Free Library to Hamilton College to the Albert Einstein Healthcare Network.

At the Free Library, Johnson, a lawyer, was working to raise money for a renovation and major expansion of the main branch.

The project is still happening, though a groundbreaking is not imminent.

"We were ready to go to groundbreaking, but with the situation with the branches and the economy, we decided not to go to groundbreaking just yet," said spokeswoman Sandra Horrocks.

About $105 million has been promised toward the project's $175 million goal, Horrocks said. "We have a ways to go. We’re still fund-raising," she said.

A CEO search committee will be established, and today Johnson was put back on the Free Library Foundation's board.