Construction Underway at Parkway Central
Deconstruction of the original six levels of stack-shelving units is now complete, clearing the way for exciting new public spaces: The Common, the Business Resource and Innovation Center (BRIC), the Marie H. and Joseph M. Field Teen Center, and other innovative spaces and services. These spaces are expected to open in fall 2018. 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 by the generosity of a number of private individuals, institutional funders, the City of Philadelphia, and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
Pilot 21st Century Libraries Now Open
Four new 21st Century Libraries have reopened their doors, after receiving extensive modernization and expansion. These pilot libraries—Lillian Marrero, Logan, Lovett Memorial, and Tacony neighborhood libraries, as well as the South Philadelphia Library, which reopened in 2016—have been reimagined and reshaped to meet the changing needs of today’s library customers. All have been fitted with warm, state-of-the-art spaces, including a vibrant Children’s Library, a dedicated Teen Zone, and a customized Pre-K Zone, as well as a welcoming living room space. These transformed libraries are all ADA compliant and universally accessible. For more information about the Building Inspiration: 21st Century Libraries Initiative, visit 21stcenturylibraries.org.
Regional Research and Operations Center
The Regional Research and Operations Center, a state-of-the-art facility with a climate controlled environment, is the new home for books, journals, and other less frequently requested material formerly housed in Parkway Central’s closed book stacks. Requests for items are placed through the library’s online catalog and delivered to Parkway Central within 48 hours. More info »
Parkway Central’s Fourth Floor recently underwent a stunning renovation, transforming it into a world-class meeting and event space with several conference rooms, an enhanced Skyline Room and Terrace, and a new Culinary Literacy Center and demonstration kitchen that teaches literacy skills through innovative—and delicious—cooking programs for Philadelphians of all ages.
Rare Book Department
The Rare Book Department has been renovated to include a new William B. Dietrich gallery for special exhibitions. In addition, previously unusable space has been re-purposed to create a climate controlled storage area for rare books, and the space that houses the Theatre Collection has been completely upgraded and refurbished.
Parkway Central Library's Philbrick Hall has reopened after extensive renovations. Made possible by generous support from the Annenberg Foundation, the renovation of Philbrick Hall opened up 2,500 square feet of previously inaccessible space to the public, including the Hall's third floor mezzanine. The renovation features new seating, shelving, and window treatments in a bright new color palette; refurbished, original terrazzo floors; a restored, intricate plaster ceiling; and energy-efficient new lighting—all designed by Moshe Safdie Associates—allowing the historic grandeur of the Beaux-Arts room to shine through. At the same time, Philbrick Hall has been fully outfitted with the latest technologies, including a surface table, plenty of new computers, and video walls that display information about upcoming programs and other Library news.
Shakespeare Park at 19th and Vine Streets underwent major renovations as part of the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation’s Bridges Over 676 improvement project. The beautiful new forecourt to the Parkway Central Library has new benches, walkways, and outdoor lightning, and it is in bloom with flowers mentioned in William Shakespeare’s plays. The library has hosted concerts and storytimes in the new space.
The project included dramatic new lighting designed by Moshe Safdie Associates, the world-renowned architecture firm redesigning Philbrick Popular Library, which will reopen this winter. The lighting, which increases energy efficiency at Parkway Central, was inspired by the original fixtures on the second floor. The renovated department also features a new color palette, a reading area, updated listening stations, and state-of-the-art technology like touch-screen computers and scanners that transform sheet music into MP3s. Additional restorations were also made to the original ornate ceiling plaster and marble flooring.