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 Lovett Memorial Library, located at 6945 Germantown 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. Lovett Memorial will hold a grand opening celebration on Saturday, December 16, from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

This transformed 21st Century Library has been made entirely ADA accessible. The renovated library features warm, state-of-the-art spaces, including a vibrant, enlarged children’s space; a customized Pre-K Zone; and a dedicated Teen Zone. Other enhancements include a welcoming living room space; updated program, meeting, and study rooms; and a computer bar. There is also a quiet zone for those looking for tranquility and a covered reading porch overlooking the newly landscaped Lovett Park, designed in close partnership with Mt. Airy USA. 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 features two site-specific, commissioned artworks created by local glassmaker Cooper O’Neil. Titled Explore and This Place, these stained-glass window installations draw upon architectural elements from the immediate Mt. Airy community and are intended to joyfully engage with the public. Through a community engagement process, Mr. O’Neil and the library staff developed a vision statement that led them to think about the library as “the neighborhood’s kitchen table” and “as a home for community literacy.”

Building Inspiration 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. ADA improvements at Lovett Memorial Library were supported by a grant from the Keystone Recreation, Park, and Conservation Fund—administered by the Pennsylvania Department of Education through the Office of Commonwealth Libraries. 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 Jr., the Benoliel Family, Rebecca L. Craik and Mark Haskins, Ted and Stevie Wolf, Patricia Kind and her family, Judy and Ken Weinstein, Janet and Jim Averill, and Martha and I. Wistar Morris, and many others, who supported innovative new spaces at Lovett Memorial Library, as well as the larger Building Inspiration initiative.

Additionally, Lovett Memorial Library and adjoining park were funded in part by a $1.25 million grant from the Reimaging the Civic Commons Initiative. The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and the William Penn Foundation formed a partnership in 2014 to reimagine the civic commons. The underlying premise is that parks, libraries, and other “civic assets” can be better leveraged to promote greater social and economic integration, retain residents, and foster community and economic development. In collaboration with Mt. Airy USA—which helps stimulate development responsive to the Mt. Airy community’s needs—the library will be integrated into the adjacent park, which will include a reading area and space for outdoor programing like the popular summer movie series.

In conjunction with the reopening of the library, the Friends of Lovett Memorial Library will rededicate the World War I memorial that stands in front of the building, commemorating local casualties of the conflict. The monument was erected by the library’s board in 1924. Working with the volunteers of the Pennsylvania World War I Centennial Committee, the Friends have created a replica of the name plaque that was stolen in the 1970s. For the rededication, they have been reaching out to the descendants of those whose names are on the tablet.

Lovett Memorial Library was built in 1887. Charlotte Lovett Bostwick built and endowed the library as a memorial to her brother, Thomas R. Lovett. Lovett Memorial Library became part of the Free Library of Philadelphia in 1924. A new addition was opened in 1961, and in 1982 neighbors formed the Friends of Lovett Library—now led by David T. Moore. 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