It’s showtime for the Free Library of Philadelphia’s newest public spaces.

After more than a decade of renovations with a price tag of $35.8 million, the Free Library’s Parkway Central location is celebrating the opening of its new civic, teen, and business centers with events and programs starting Friday and continuing throughout the weekend.

The addition of The Robert and Eileen Kennedy Heim Center for Cultural and Civic Engagement, the Business Resource and Innovation Center (BRIC), and the Marie and Joseph Field Teen Center means thousands of square feet to host public programs, help small businesses grow, and a provide a place for Philly’s teens to congregate.

Events kick off Friday at 9 a.m., when the library will be hosting tours, a welcoming reception, an artist workshop, and a poetry slam competition. Events continue Saturday and Sunday, with a ticketed family fest scheduled from 4 to 6 p.m. Saturday, where there will be crafts, storytelling, buffet as well as adult beverages.

Parkway Central Library's event this weekend celebrating the opening of its new spaces.
Courtesy
Parkway Central Library's event this weekend celebrating the opening of its new spaces.

“For nearly a century, Parkway Central Library has been an iconic landmark in Philadelphia, and this renovation has ensured that it remains a cornerstone of literacy, culture, and education for years to come,” said Siobhan A. Reardon, president and director of the Free Library of Philadelphia. “We wanted to give this space back to the people we serve, for members of the community to gather, to discuss, and to learn.”

Renovations to the library’s Parkway Central location started in 2006. They are the largest the building has seen since it was finished in 1927, in an effort “to restore and reimagine the historic Parkway Central Library for today’s — and tomorrow’s — library users," according to the library.