April 21, 2018

Philadelphia Council Approves $30M for Central Library

By LJ Staff

Philadelphia’s City Council has agreed to spend $30 million in city funds to expand the Central Library of the Free Library of Philadelphia. The money would be borrowed by the Philadelphia Authority for Industrial Development, which would effectively own the library grounds, then lease them to the city, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported. Some Council members and City Controller Jonathan Saidel raised questions about whether the city should borrow money given its budget pressures. The money would fund renovations to the existing main library, a 160,000-square-foot annex, a new auditorium, and more. "This is very important to us," library director Elliot Shelkrot told the newspaper. "This is the city’s central library, and very, very few people want to talk to us seriously about this project until the city steps forward and makes its commitment. Now, our planning can continue."