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4 Philly libraries close for major renovations

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The new-and-improved libraries will finish construction next year

Construction has begun at four neighborhood libraries as part of the 21st Century Libraries Initiative, Free Library of Philadelphia announced this week.

Renovations began at Lillian Marrero Library in Fairhill and Lovett Memorial Library in Mt. Airy on September 6. Construction will begin on the Logan and Tacony libraries on October 3.

These aren’t just your average spruce ups. Like with the newly-opened South Philadelphia Library, these four buildings will each undergo big-time renovations that will take nine to 10 months. The five libraries are part of the Building Inspiration: 21st Century Libraries Initiative, which, as the name implies, aims to transform traditional buildings into libraries of the 21st century.

It's all being funded via numerous donations, including the $25 million donation from the William Penn Foundation.

Here’s what to expect at each library, all which will be closed during renovations. The four will feature a teen center, pre-K zone, and a children’s library, but each reno will be geared toward a specific cause.

Lillian Marrero Library: This library on Lehigh Avenue in Fairhill will be serve as a center for new Americans and provide early childhood literary services.

Lovett Memorial Library: This library on Germantown Avenue in Mt. Airy will be transformed into a community center for residents of all ages.

Logan Library: After the renovation, the Logan Library will have two major spaces, one for adults and another for children (shown above). There will also be a reading garden, and the building will be ADA-compliant for the first time.

Tacony Library: With its burgeoning commercial corridor, the Tacony Library renovations will provide entrepreneurs with resources to grow their businesses.

Construction is expected to finish up next spring (think March through June). Opening dates have yet to be announced. Via the library’s blog:

Please note that the conclusion of construction is not the same as the public opening date. It takes at least a few months for us to add crucial installations such as furniture, computers, books, and other materials. We will announce public opening dates as construction draws to a close.

The Free Library of Philadelphia’s main headquarters on the Parkway is also part of the initiative, and renovations led by architect Moshe Safdie have been ongoing since 2008.