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, November 15, 2017—The Free Library of Philadelphia is excited to announce the reopening of Tacony Library, located at 6742 Torresdale Avenue. This library has been reimagined as part of the Library’s Building Inspiration: 21st Century Libraries Initiative, a transformational project to reshape neighborhood libraries in Philadelphia to meet the changing needs of today’s library customers. Tacony will hold a grand opening celebration on Saturday, December 2, from 12:00 to 4:00 p.m.

This transformed 21st Century Library has been made entirely ADA accessible with the addition of a new entrance on Knorr Street leading to a large elevator. The renovated library features warm, state-of-the-art spaces, including a vibrant Children’s Library, customized Pre-K Zone, and dedicated Teen Zone. Other enhancements include a welcoming living room space; an improved circulation desk; updated program, meeting, and study rooms; and a computer bar where the old building meets the new addition. In response to identified community needs, programming at Tacony Library will focus on small business resources. Furthering this commitment, the Tacony Community Development Corporation has relocated to the lower level of the library. The Free Library collaborated with architect James. R. Keller, who specializes in design and planning for libraries, to reimagine this neighborhood library.

Supported by the Percent for Art Program—an initiative of the City’s Office of Arts, Culture, and the Creative Economy—the library will feature a piece of site-specific, commissioned artwork created by Benjamin Volta. Titled Diligence, it is a ghost-like collage with patterns drawn from the Disston tool catalogue, part of the nationally known Disston brand, which was headquartered in Tacony. The sense of focused intention and industry throughout the composition speak to the quiet strength and energy that is needed to discover a path, follow a dream, and innovate to build something new—values Volta said he found within the Tacony community. 

The Building Inspiration initiative has been made possible in large part by a historic $25 million grant from the William Penn Foundation—the largest private gift ever received by the Free Library. Other essential support came from the City of Philadelphia, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, and the Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation. The Library is also grateful to Ruth W. and A. Morris Williams, Rhonda and James Mordy, and Martha and I. Wistar Morris, who supported innovative new spaces at Tacony Library, as well as the larger Building Inspiration initiative.  

Henry Disston moved his sawmill from downtown Philadelphia to Tacony in 1872, and the Tacony Library opened in 1906 on a plot of land bequeathed by the Disston family and using funds donated by the philanthropist Andrew Carnegie. Free Library staff is overjoyed to welcome the community back to this neighborhood hub. To learn more about the Building Inspiration initiative, visit

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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, including neighborhood Hotspots; and rich special collections, including  those at Parkway Central Library and at the Rosenbach. With more than 6 million in-person visits and millions more online 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