Free Library of Philadelphia gives inside look at Parkway Central’s new spaces

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — The Free Library of Philadelphia is getting ready to unveil three huge new spaces for public use at their Parkway Central branch.

In order to make room for the new modern spaces, the Free Library says about 800,000 books had to be relocated to a storage facility.

“These renovations are long and coming,” said the Free Library president and director Siobhan Reardon. “This is the first time we’re actually rethinking this giant 300,000 square foot facility.”

Over 40,000 square feet of library storage known as The Stacks was turned into three public spaces.

“So the first, known as the Heim Center, is really meant for cultural enrichment and civic engagement,” Reardon explained. “It’s a mouthful, so this gives us the flexibility to create sort of a not-so-much reading room that behaves as a living room.”

There’s also a business resource and innovation center, as well as a teen center. James Pecora, the VP for property management, explained that the new spaces are on the other side of the historic steps, through what used to be a brick wall.

“We broke through those walls, redid the steel in the ceiling and built — this is reclaimed marble from The Stacks — so it looks exact like the historic steps,” she said. “We built three of those to connect this space.”

The new spaces open to the public on April 12.


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