What to Know
- The grand opening will take place April 12th with unveiling of exclusive art by local artist Colette Fu.
- The renovation includes three new spaces: the Robert and Eileen Kennedy Heim Center for Cultural and Civic Engagement, the Business Resource
In its largest renovation since its opening in 1927, the Free Library of Philadelphia is set to open 41,000 square feet of newly reimagined space within the Parkway Central Library after years of planning.
The grand opening will take place April 12 and will include unveiling of exclusive art by local artist Colette Fu.
This renovation is funded with $35.8 million from the William Penn Foundation, the City of Philadelphia, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program and many donations from individuals.
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These new spaces required more than 800,000 books and materials to be relocated before construction started.
Three additional spaces are being unveiled as part of the 13-year project: The Robert and Eileen Kennedy Heim Center for Cultural and Civic Engagement, the Business Resource and Innovation Center (BRIC) and the Marie and Joseph Field Teen Center.
Each space offers a unique use for visitors.
The Center for Cultural and Civic Engagement will include events hosted by community members, as well as programs offered by the library’s Division of Cultural and Civic Engagement. This center is located on a balcony overlooking the BRIC.
The BRIC is home to the business resources of the library and includes an open floor plan with conference and breakout rooms. The BRIC is intended to give important resources for entrepreneurs to work on their ventures and for job-seekers to build new connections.
The teen center features an open-floor plan with flat-screens and movable furniture. This is the first exclusive space for young visitors.
The last, and most impressive part of the renovation, is the updated 14,000-square-foot, original pink marble staircases connecting the historic lobby to the contemporary spaces. The marble was salvaged from the library's original materials.
For more information on the renovation and grand opening click here.