Mt. Airy community prepares for two-year closure of Lovett library

The mood was heavy as members of the Mt. Airy community gathered Monday evening for the Friends of Lovett Memorial Library's meeting.

In January, the nearly 130-year-old library will be closing its doors for at least two years while the building undergoes major renovations as part of the Free Library of Philadelphia's multi million dollar 21st Century Libraries Initiative.

In June 2013, the Lovett community first learned their library had been selected along with four other neighborhood branches for the pilot phase of the FLP's modernization initiative. The project, which is being funded by the William Penn Foundation, will involve renovating the Parkway Central Library, modernizing select neighborhood libraries and building community partnerships. 

At Lovett, design plans include a building extension to house the children's library, an enlarged tech center, a quiet reading space and a more open floor plan for the main building. When the initial designs were revealed at a Feb. 2014 community meeting, the Lovett community showed mixed reception.

"Where are all the books going to go?" one resident asked. "It looks like we are losing almost our entire collection."

Others praised the upgrade in technology and computer access as well as the extension of the widely used children's library.

But on Monday, the main concern was where the community could turn during the renovations.  Lovett serves as a meeting center for several local groups and clubs and provides after school programming for children. 

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About the author

Emily Brooks, Newsworks reporter

Newsworks Northwest reporter

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