$25 million grant given to upgrade 6 Philadelphia libraries

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A half-dozen Philadelphia libraries will be getting major makeovers, thanks to a $25 million grant from the William Penn Foundation. (WPVI)

A half-dozen Philadelphia libraries will be getting major makeovers, thanks to a $25 million grant from the William Penn Foundation.

"We are announcing today our 'Building Inspiration: 21st Century Libraries' initiative. It's a landmark initiative transforming our libraries here in Philadelphia," said Siobhan Reardon, President of the Free Library of Philadelphia.

"Libraries have been re-imagined. Today the library is a civic hub, central to the intellectual, cultural, creative and economic life of cities, communities and citizens," said Janet Haas, M.D., Vice-Chair of the William Penn Foundation.

The libraries of the future will be less about stacks of books and more about gathering spaces and access to technology.

At the Central Library on the Parkway, two new spaces, The Common and the Business Research and Innovation Center, are in the works.

Six floors full of shelves will be opened up and turned into public space.

Five community libraries are being renovated, as well. Those include the Lillian Marrero branch on Lehigh Avenue, the Logan Library, the Lovett Library on Germantown Avenue, the South Philadelphia branch and the Tacony branch.

With six million Philadelphians visiting the city libraries in person each year, the renovations, which will make the branches brighter and more accessible, are welcome.

"I am just really amazed and so pleased and happy that we are going to get the renovations that our community deserves," said Belita Thornton, Logan Library.

"This 21st century renovation is going to be awesome for the Mt. Airy community," said Veronica Britto, Lovett branch manager.

The renovation work is set to begin in about a year and is expected to take two years to complete.

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