Refurbished library a preview of what’s to come in Philadelphia

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 The Free Library of Philadelphia building at Sixth and Lehigh is under renovation (Tom MacDonald/WHYY)

The Free Library of Philadelphia building at Sixth and Lehigh is under renovation (Tom MacDonald/WHYY)

A Philadelphia library under renovation is being touted as an example of good things to come in from the city’s controversial sweetened-beverage tax. 

 

Renovations at the Lillian Marrero Library at Sixth and Lehigh are not being financed with money from the soda tax, but the $6 million project is similar to the work that will be done with revenue form the city’s new 1.5-cents-per-ounce levy on sweetened drinks.

“The people who live in this neighborhood are good people, and they struggle every day to make their way in the world,” Kenney said during an event Friday morning at the site. “To have something as beautiful as this, as accessible as this, and educational and mind-expanding as this — it’s a wonderful thing for people to have in their neighborhood.”

The facility is more than a place with books, said Sandy Horrocks, a Free Library of Philadelphia vice president.  It’s a neighborhood hub.

“We call them the 21st century libraries, very much involved with communications, digital access, digital literacy,” Horrocks said. “Very much the library of the future.”

The facility is expected to open in the fall, and Kenney said scores of other libraries and recreation centers will be refurbished with money from the soda tax.

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