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


PHILADELPHIA, December 2, 2016— Government officials and Free Library executives gathered for a special hard-hat tour and check presentations at the Tacony Library, currently under construction for renovations that will update and modernize this historic and beloved building as part of the Free Library’s ambitious Building Inspiration: 21st Century Libraries Initiative.

In addition to public and private dollars previously secured for this project, the Library is honored to accept further supporting funds from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and Councilman Bobby Henon.

In early November, Governor Tom Wolf notified the Free Library of Philadelphia that a $1million grant from the Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program (RACP) had been awarded to the Library for Building Inspiration to be used toward the renovation and expansion of four neighborhood libraries. In addition, Philadelphia City Councilman Bobby Henon, a staunch advocate for the Free Library, secured $150,000 to be used specifically for renovations at the Tacony Library.

"The Building Inspiration: 21st Century Libraries Initiative is truly an innovative way of understanding the library and its role in the community and in our rapidly changing world," said Governor Wolf.  “I am pleased that the commonwealth can support this important effort by investing in our libraries and remaking them into flexible, community-driven places to gather, learn, and grow."

Councilman Henon said, “I know firsthand the benefits of having a robust library as an anchor in the community.  Tacony Library has been that touch point for more than a hundred years, serving as a place for children, families, and seniors to expand their minds and their horizons.  With the extensive upgrades and renovations through the 21st Century Library Initiative, the Tacony Library will continue to strengthen and contribute to the success of its neighborhood for years to come.  I am proud to have been able to support this tremendous effort."


“We are deeply grateful to the Governor, the Philadelphia delegation in Harrisburg, and Councilman Bobby Henon for securing funds to support our work to reimagine four of our neighborhood libraries and create inviting centers of learning.  We will create a 21st-century institution that fosters intellectual growth and enlightenment for generations to come. We are so appreciative of this support to enable continued investment in our communities,” commented Siobhan A. Reardon, President and Director of the Free Library of Philadelphia.

The Free Library has identified five neighborhood libraries, representing a broad cross-section of Philadelphia neighborhoods, to serve as prototype Building Inspiration: 21st Century Libraries Initiative models.  These new libraries will help advise the Rebuild-PHL initiative of the City Administration to bring major improvements to libraries, parks and recreation centers throughout the city. Each of the prototype libraries will be physically transformed to make them more attractive and welcoming to customers, featuring dedicated space for different age groups and reading levels, places for informal gathering, as well as community meeting space, all while also ensuring full ADA accessibility. Each renovated library will have a unique programmatic focus, in response to identified community needs.   And all of the libraries will be equipped with new technology and internet access to aid school-age learners, job searchers, and individuals seeking to access to health and social services. 

The first of the five libraries to be renovated and opened is the new South Philadelphia Library which is part of a complex at 1700 South Broad Street developed in partnership with The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, and also houses a new playground, a City Health Department and a CHOP pediatric center.  The South Philadelphia Library focuses on health and wellness information and services for new Americans.

The next neighborhood libraries to be renovated with support from RACP, as well as a landmark gift from the William Penn Foundation, will be:

  • Lillian Marrero Library, 601 West Lehigh Avenue
    • Lillian Marrero Library will focus on early childhood literacy and services for new Americans, connecting the surrounding community with services they need to grow and thrive.
  • Logan Library, 1333 Wagner Avenue;
    • Logan Library will focus on family literacy and will have new spaces in which to learn together and programming designed to build literacy across generations.
  • Lovett Memorial Library, 6945 Germantown Avenue
    • Lovett Memorial Library will establish a community center for Mt. Airy residents of all ages, where individuals and organizations will be able to meet and connect with each other and the world around them.
  • Tacony Library, 6742 Torresdale Avenue
    • Tacony Library, situated in the heart of a re-emerging commercial corridor, will focus on small businesses and entrepreneurs, helping to further revive the area’s business community.

Flexibility is a key facet of Building Inspiration as it allows the Free Library to evolve and change along with the needs of Philadelphia’s communities. Today, people come to the library for everything from finding a job, to starting a small business, to learning a new language. It’s important that library spaces can easily adapt to meet the vast and ever-changing needs of community members, in a literal sense by providing flexible options like movable furniture, and in a programmatic sense through offerings that are responsive to community needs.

For more information on the Free Library of Philadelphia’s Building Inspiration: 21st Century Libraries Initiative, please visit or


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About the Free Library of Philadelphia
The Free Library of Philadelphia system, with 54 locations and The Rosenbach, advances literacy, guides learning, and inspires curiosity with millions of digital and physical materials; 25,000 yearly programs and workshops; free public computers and extensive Wi-Fi; and rich special collections, including those at Parkway Central Library and at The Rosenbach of the Free Library of Philadelphia. The combined holdings of these renowned collections—which include hundreds of thousands of rare books, manuscripts, and ephemera—inspire unique exhibitions and programs throughout the year. With more than 6 million in-person and millions more online visits annually, the Free Library and The Rosenbach are among the most widely used educational and cultural institutions in Philadelphia and boast a worldwide impact.


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