It’s a fest! Tacony’s annual Winterfest, of course, and this year also a library-fest! After a year and a half of undergoing extensive renovation and expansion, Tacony Library will reopen its doors on Saturday, December 2—coinciding with the neighborhood’s Winterfest celebration. This neighborhood hub, located at 6742 Torresdale Avenue, has been reimagined as part of the Free 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. To see some before, during, and after construction images, view our Tacony Library photo album on Flickr!
Join us for a celebration of this incredible project and community, as we welcome Tacony’s Northeast Philadelphia neighbors home. From 12:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. on Saturday, December 2, neighbors can enjoy face-painting, balloon art, Santa visits, fun learning activities, snacks, giveaways, and more at the new Tacony Library. Free Library President and Director Siobhan A. Reardon and other special guests will give remarks at 12:00 p.m.
During the celebration, attendees are invited to explore the library's new, state-of-the-art spaces and features, including a vibrant Children’s Library, customized Pre-K Zone, and dedicated Teen Zone. Other enhancements include a welcoming, living-room-like space known as The Common; an improved circulation desk; updated program, meeting, and study rooms; and a computer bar. In response to identified community needs, programming at Tacony Library will focus on small business resources. Furthering this commitment, the Tacony Community Development Corporation (Tacony CDC) has relocated to the lower level of the library. The library has also been made entirely ADA accessible. 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 Free 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.
Following the celebration, the hours of operation for Tacony Library will be:
Mondays and Wednesdays 12:00 p.m.–8:00 p.m.
Tuesdays and Thursdays 10:00 a.m.–6:00 p.m.
Fridays and Saturdays 10:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.
Henry Disston moved his Saw Works 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.
We can’t wait to welcome the community back to their Tacony Library!