Rebuild’s $13.2M investment will create a modernized ADA accessible information hub for the community.
PHILADELPHIA (April 26, 2023) – Mayor Jim Kenney, Coucilmember Kenyatta Johnson (2nd district), and community members broke ground at Paschalville Library, an 11,056 square-foot, 2-story building located on Woodland Avenue in Southwest Philadelphia. The $13.2 million of improvements to Paschalville Library were made possible by the city’s Rebuild program, Philadelphia’s historic investment in public spaces.
“Paschalville Library has been a cornerstone of the community for more than 120 years,” said Mayor Jim Kenney. “The much needed renovations funded by Rebuild and the Beverage Tax will provide the community with a more accessible and modernized space that will help the Library provide high quality resources for their patrons.”
“Providing safe spaces for the youth of our city to gather is essential for violence prevention efforts,” said Philadelphia City Councilmember Kenyatta Johnson (Second District) . “The Paschalville Library has been serving the communities of Paschalville and Elmwood since 1914 so I am looking forward to the grand opening of the library and these renovations will help provide Southwest Philly with the resources it needs to succeed.”
Updates at Paschalville Library
The Paschalville branch of the Free Library of Philadelphia serves both the Paschalville and Elmwood communities. This site became a member of The Free Library of Philadelphia in 1900, opened to the public in 1915, and evolved into a key resource for workforce development through its Job Readiness program. The library has not been renovated since the “Changing Lives” campaign in 1995, which refurbished branches and brought Internet service to every library.
“Rebuild believes that libraries are key community hubs that foster not only learning but also personal growth. We have been working intimately with community members to create a space that cultivates generational prosperity and education,” said Kira Strong, Executive Director of Rebuild. “Libraries are a representation of what one can achieve, they supply the youth with imagination and courage to grow. I look forward to the grand opening that will provide a space for everyone in the community to achieve more.”
The community engagement and improvement process has been led by the Greater Philadelphia Community Alliance through Rebuild’s non-profit delivery method. Following the input offered by community members through Rebuild’s community engagement efforts, site renovations will take place to fit community needs including:
Building interior renovations:
- New elevator and staircase between floors
- New ADA bathrooms
- All new flooring, paint, and furnishings
- Refurbishment of original stained-glass skylights
- New electric and plumbing, including lighting and fixtures
- New HVAC system
- New security system
- New floor plan on both levels
- New “Media Hub” classroom on the upper level and “Flex Space” on the Lower Level
- New ADA ramp to the front entry
- Masonry restoration
- New windows
- New roof
- New lighting and security
- All new site layout including patios, seating, plantings, fencing, lighting, and security
- New story circle
Tech-Enabled Library improvements funded through the Knight Foundation:
- Media Hub and Flex Space
- Building Automation System (for HVAC system)
Paschalville updates will also include a Percent for Art project located at the outdoor “Story Circle”, which provides an intimate learning and gathering environment.
“The community has been waiting for some time to see the reopening of this library, so this is an amazing day for us to kick off the renovation,” said Otis Bullock, Greater Philadelphia Community Alliance. “We are all excited for what’s to come.”
“Through these renovations supported by the City of Philadelphia’s Rebuild program, Paschalville Library will be reimagined and updated to meet the changing needs of the community and will further the Free Library’s mission of advancing literacy, guiding learning, and inspiring curiosity,” said Kelly Richards, President and Director of the Free Library of Philadelphia.
Mr. Richards further expressed gratitude to The Knight Foundation for their partnership and generous commitment to ensure that Paschalville becomes a tech-enabled, community-driven neighborhood library through this renovation and Toba and Lawrence Kerson for providing additional support to this project.
Library closure and alternative options
During preconstruction and construction, The Paschalville Library will remain closed as contractors relocate and preserve all books and videos. Despite the closure, library resources will continue to be accessible for community members at the Eastwick Library, 2851 Island Avenue.
Available resources for Paschalville Library patrons at Eastwick Library include:
- Internet and computer access
- Wi-Fi access
- Printing, photocopying and scanning services
- Storytime and LEAP programs
- Reference services and book circulation
- Saturday Service
Additional computer and internet access is available Monday through Friday at the Southwest CDC located at 6328 Paschall Avenue.
Rebuild is a historic investment of hundreds of millions of dollars in neighborhood parks, recreation centers and libraries across Philadelphia. Proposed in Mayor Jim Kenney’s first budget as a part of his vision for a more equitable Philadelphia, Rebuild’s promise to acknowledge history, engage the community and invest intentionally seeks to uplift pivotal community spaces, empower neighborhoods, and promote economic opportunity through diversity and inclusion.
The Free Library of Philadelphia system, with 54 locations and The Rosenbach, advances literacy, guides learning, and inspires curiosity with millions of digital and physical materials; 31,000 yearly programs and workshops; free public computers and extensive Wi-Fi, and rich special collections, including those at the Parkway Central Library and at The Rosenbach. With more than 5 million in-person visits and 5 million more online annually, the Free Library and The Rosenbach are among the most widely used educational and cultural institutions in Philadelphia and boast a worldwide impact.