The new South Philadelphia Library is almost ready to open its doors to the public!
We were thrilled to join the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, the Philadelphia Department of Public Health, and the Philadelphia Parks and Recreation Department this morning to cut the ribbon on the brand new South Philadelphia Community Health and Literacy Center at Broad and Morris streets. This incredible partnership will provide healthcare, literacy, and recreational services in a single location for children and families in South Philadelphia.
This new hub will be focused on improving the health of an entire community, allowing both children and adults to access an integrated offering of services to promote care, wellness, and literacy—all under one roof and within one city block. The new South Philadelphia Library, located on the first floor of the Health and Literacy Center, will include a Community Health Resource Center with staff trained by the University of Pennsylvania Center for Public Health Initiatives. This targeted training is made possible by the Cannuscio Rader Family Foundation, which has established a Community Health Innovation Fund for the Free Library.
The new space also houses a “living room” area—the Stephen and Sandra Sheller Common—where customers can gather with friends, engage in library programs, and interact in a warm environment. The Frances and Stewart Rauch Children’s Library will display a mural by renowned late author and illustrator Maurice Sendak. The only surviving Sendak mural, given by Nina and Larry Chertoff in loving memory of Roslyn and Lionel Chertoff and Eugene Glynn, it has been on display at The Rosenbach for nearly five years. It will have a new life at the library, which also includes a teen space, a Pre-K Zone, a computer lab, and updated study rooms.
As part of the Building Inspiration: 21st Century Libraries Initiative, the South Philadelphia Library is the first of five pilot neighborhood libraries to be reimagined and reshaped to meet the changing needs of today’s library customers. The other four libraries—Lillian Marrero, Logan, Lovett Memorial, and Tacony—closed in April and are now preparing to undergo extensive modernization and expansion. Each will receive physical upgrades, ensuring full ADA accessibility, and have a unique programmatic focus, chosen in response to identified community needs. These critical updates are made possible in large part by the William Penn Foundation’s historic $25 million grant to the Building Inspiration initiative, as well as a number of private individuals and the City of Philadelphia, for which we continue to be so grateful.
Stay tuned for information on the official opening celebration of the new South Philadelphia Library, coming this summer!