Walnut West Library to be Saved, Renovated
Philadelphia’s first Carnegie library, the Walnut West Branch Library at 40th and Walnut Streets in West Philadelphia, now faces a brighter future. Several years ago the turn-of-the-century, classical-styled library was closed, vacated, and threatened by the desire of the city and the Free Library of Philadelphia to demolish the building, preferring to build a new branch library elsewhere in West Philadelphia.
A community outcry -- led by the Friends of Walnut West Library, and joined by the Preservation Alliance and other neighborhood groups – opposed the demolition and advocated for the renovation of the existing library building. After several community meetings, the mayor and councilwoman Blackwell announced support for the historic landmark’s rehabilitation.
In its current newsletter, the Friends of Walnut West Library illustrate floor plans of the planned renovated space which will provide for a modern library serving the community in an historic structure. In addition to a grand reading room and book stacks, the renovated library will include a community assembly room with stage, conference rooms, central atrium, and modern systems.