For Release: Immediately
Department of External Affairs
Free Library of Philadelphia
1901 Vine Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103-1189
(215) 567-7710
FAX (215) 567-7850
Contact: Communications and Development
For Release: Immediately
Contact: Communications and Development


Generous grants from Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development, Annenberg Foundation to support extensive improvements

PHILADELPHIA, May 17, 2011—Renovations are now underway at the Free Library of Philadelphia’s Parkway Central Library as part of its re-envisioned plans for the classic Beaux-Arts building on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. These renovations mark the first time that Parkway Central has been significantly restored since it was built in 1927. Now through the end of the year, several exterior and interior improvements will take place, including the refurbishment of Shakespeare Park and the complete restoration of the Philbrick Popular Library.

With generous support from the Annenberg Foundation, Parkway Central’s Philbrick Popular Library will close May 19th to undergo an extensive upgrade. Carpet will be removed and marble floors fully restored; new seating, shelving, and window treatments will be installed; the intricate plaster ceiling will be fully renewed; and energy efficient new lighting will be installed, inspired by the original fixtures on the second floor of Parkway Central. Bestsellers will be available on the second floor, and other materials--though not all--are moving to various departments in the Library. Philbrick Popular Library will remain closed through the end of December.

With generous support from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Department of Commerce and Economic Development, Parkway Central’s stone façade is being cleaned and re-pointed, and its windows are being replaced. Additionally, the Library’s exterior stairways and the main vestibule—including light fixtures—will be cleaned and restored. Shakespeare Park, located across 19th street from Parkway Central, will also be refurbished with new lighting, sidewalks, and landscaping and will re-open July 1.

“This is an especially exciting time for the Free Library of Philadelphia,” said Siobhan A. Reardon, Library President and Director. “The renovation of Parkway Central Library is long overdue, and I am so proud that we are finally moving forward with our plans for a fully restored building that will better serve Philadelphia’s 21st-century needs.”

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The Free Library of Philadelphia system consists of 49 branches, three regional libraries, the Parkway Central Library, and the Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped. With more than 6 million visits annually, the Free Library is one of the most widely used educational and cultural institutions in Philadelphia.


Department of External Affairs, Free Library of Philadelphia, 1901 Vine Street, Philadelphia, PA 19103-1189
(215) 567-7710, FAX (215) 567-7850