Our reopening season comes to a close with one final community celebration that is not to be missed. After a year and a half of undergoing extensive renovation and expansion, Lovett Memorial Library will reopen its doors on Saturday, December 16. This neighborhood hub, located at 6945 Germantown 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 Lovett Memorial Library photo album on Flickr!
Join us for a celebration of this incredible project and community, as we welcome Lovett’s Mt. Airy neighbors home. From 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. on Saturday, December 16, neighbors can enjoy face-painting, balloon art, fun learning activities, snacks, giveaways, and more at the new Lovett Memorial Library. Mayor Jim Kenney, Free Library President and Director Siobhan A. Reardon, and other special guests will give remarks at 11:00 a.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 space, a customized Pre-K Zone, and a 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 computer lounges. 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. In response to identified community needs, Lovett Memorial Library will focus on intergenerational programming for the whole Mt. Airy community. 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 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, 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."
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 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.
Following the celebration, the hours of operation for Lovett Memorial Library will be:
Mondays and Wednesdays 1:00 p.m.–9:00 p.m.
Tuesdays and Thursdays 10:00 a.m.–6:00 p.m.
Fridays and Saturdays 10:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.
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.
The original Lovett Memorial Library was built in 1887. Charlotte Lovett Bostwick built and endowed the library as a memorial to her brother, Thomas R. Lovett. The library became part of the Free Library of Philadelphia in 1924.
We can’t wait to welcome the devoted community back to their Lovett Memorial Library! We know they will love-it!