The multi-million dollar investment is set to transform the library into a coveted learning and resource center for Lawncrest residents
PHILADELPHIA – Mayor Jim Kenney, Councilmember Anthony Phillips (9th District), Rebuild Philadelphia, the Free Library of Philadelphia and Community Ventures gathered with community members this afternoon to celebrate the groundbreaking of Lawncrest Library. Lawncrest is one of 11 libraries that Rebuild is renovating thanks to the City’s historic $500 million investment into more than 70 Philadelphia public spaces.
“Many of Philadelphia’s libraries were built in the 1800s and require critical updates and renovations to meet the needs of the residents and families that use them today,” said Mayor Jim Kenney. “We are excited to get started on the $4.5 million renovations and new additions at Lawncrest Library so that it can continue to be a cherished community asset for many years to come.”
Totaling $4.5 million, Lawncrest Library will be restored as an essential community hub for the residents of Lawndale, Crescentville, Lawncrest, and Cedar Grove. This Free Library branch has been a critical resource to the communities it serves since its first opening in 1961. Lawncrest Library is known for its influential programming and services to new Americans and its dynamic teen literacy program.
“Libraries and schools are the most democratic institutions in our nation. They are shared assets that impact rich and poor, Black and white, educated, and those who seek to further develop their minds. This project is a down payment on generations unborn who will read here, expand their minds, and prepare for a knowledge-based economy,” said Councilmember Anthony Phillips (9th District).
New additions and renovations at Lawncrest Library include:
- New floors, windows, lighting, painting, plumbing, HVAC, and more.
- Renovated computer area, new furniture including ample comfortable seating.
- New kitchenette in the community room.
- Improved ADA accessibilities including new bathrooms, a ramp, pathways, and new meeting rooms.
“We are excited to embark on another Rebuild project,” said President and Director of the Free Library of Philadelphia Kelly Richards. “In addition to providing a refresh of the Lawncrest Library, this renovation will help improve the overall user experience, which translates to an increase in patron satisfaction, loyalty, and engagement.”
In addition to renovating public spaces, the Rebuild program collaborates with community members to design each site, ensuring that their highest priorities are met. Because of Rebuild’s unique community engagement process, over 425 Lawncrest community members were able to voice their aspirations for this site through surveys, small pop-up events, and community meetings.
“One of my favorite parts about Rebuild is helping these deserving community members turn their dreams into reality,” said Kira Strong, Executive Director of Rebuild. “It’s an honor to work side by side with a community as passionate as Lawncrest, and we look forward to this continued partnership.”
“It has been our pleasure to partner with many Lawncrest residents, Rebuild, the staff at the Free Library, and our design team to capture their vision to refresh and modernize the Lawncrest Library to continue as a valuable and cherished community asset,” said Troy Hannigan, Director of Development at Community Ventures. “We look forward to standing here again after construction is complete to cut the ribbon in 2024!”
Programming Relocation: Lawncrest Library is officially closed at this time due to renovations. Residents who use Lawncrest Library can find services at other library locations during the site’s closure. Relocations include:
- Circulating books/movies/etc: Bushrod Library, Fox Chase Library, Greater Olney Library
- Internet access on our PCs: Fox Chase Library, Greater Olney Library, Northeast Regional Library
- Wi-Fi access: Bushrod Library, Fox Chase Library, Greater Olney Library
- Printing / Photocopying / Scanning: Bushrod Library, Fox Chase Library, Greater Olney Library
- Storytime: Bushrod Library, Fox Chase Library, Greater Olney Library
- LEAP: Bushrod Library, Fox Chase Library, Greater Olney Library
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.
Community Ventures is a Philadelphia non-profit real estate development and property management organization founded in 1987 to work in partnership with neighborhoods to improve communities and increase the supply of affordable housing. Community Ventures was selected by Rebuild to manage the Lawncrest Library improvements including community engagement, design, and construction.