A decision was made to perform renovations on the Lovett Memorial Library in Mount Airy, and the public responded positively to the idea. Joe Benford, the Chief of Extensions for the Free Library of Philadelphia estimates that with funding in place, the project could break ground in March of next year. Benford said the plan is to renovate and improve design elements throughout the library system.
According to blueprints that were shown at a community meeting, improvements included expansion of the current building into the park area next to the building.
“Currently in the library itself the children’s department is on a mezzanine that has no access other than a very long staircase to it,” Benford said. “One of our main objectives with Lovett Memorial is to create a ground floor children’s room with a programming area with access to the park area where we’ll have a reading garden.”
A new elevator will also be installed to allow visitors to reach the mezzanine level, which will be transformed into a computer lab with computers at the public’s disposal.
For this project to move forward as planned, the money will need to come in.
“The city has earmarked capital funding for the 21st Century Library Inspiration Project, but we have to match that with private funding,” Benford said. “We are currently negotiating with funders, we have proposals in to several funders.”
Benford said that this expansion would benefit the whole community.
“Currently the children’s area in that library is totally inaccessible for parents and small children if they bring them in strollers,” Benford said. “All in all it would be a really wonderful benefit especially for parents and caregivers.”
There are also plans to implement new design features into the library to make them more inviting to the community. The library will feature new technology, quiet rooms, study cubicles, teen spaces and a more open floor plan.
To inform the community, a meeting was held to discuss the changes that will take place and to unveil the current design to the people of the area on Feb. 22.
“All in all I think the community was very receptive to what we’re trying to do there,” Benford said. “We also will hold additional community meetings at the other two libraries, which are the Lillian Marrero Library and the Logan Library in North Philadelphia.”
The Tacony Library was chosen to receive renovations, and Benford said that they had a similar meeting for the community there.
– Text and Images by Brendan Menapace