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News  |  Oct 16, 2018  |  Arora

UPDATED: Arora Helps Bring the Free Library of Philadelphia into the 21st Century

  • 21st Centuries Libraries
  • 21st Century Libraries
  • 21st Century Libraries
  • 21st Century Libraries

Photos courtesy of Jeffrey Totaro and the Free Library of Philadelphia.

The Free Library of Philadelphia – 21st Century Libraries recently won the ENR MidAtlantic Award of Merit – Cultural/Worship Project. According to ENR MidAtlantic, “Projects were evaluated on the ability of the project team to overcome challenges, contribution to the industry and community, safety and construction, and design quality.”

The Free Library of Philadelphia (FLP) renovated four of their branch locations to accommodate the modern, 21st century library patron. Over the years, libraries have blossomed into civic centers, where individuals can utilize their services to learn, create, and collaborate within their community. As part of the Building Inspiration Initiative, the FLP is seeking to update their libraries with more advanced designs and state-of-the-art technologies to address these developments and better serve the public. Through the generous support of the William Penn Foundation, institutional funders, private individuals, the City of Philadelphia, and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, the Foundation recently updated and reopened these branches to the public:

  • Lillian Marrero Library – 6th Street and W. Lehigh Avenue
  • Logan Library – Wagner Avenue and Old York Road
  • Lovett Memorial Library – Germantown Avenue and E. Sedgwick Street
  • Tacony Library – Torresdale Avenue and Knorr Street

According to Off the Shelf (Spring 2018), many aspects of the redesigns were drawn from employee and community input. As a result, all of the branch locations are ADA compliant and include:

  • A vibrant children’s library
  • A customized Pre-K zone
  • A dedicated teen space
  • A welcoming living-room space
  • An improved circulation desk and self-checkout kiosks
  • Updated program, meeting, and study rooms
  • Updated computer facilities

Arora Engineers, Inc. (Arora) was tasked with providing MEP design and construction administration services for the additions and renovations of the four library branches, which included approximately 50,000 square feet of existing space and approximately 12,000 square feet of additions across the four buildings. Arora provided new HVAC systems for each branch, fully removing the old steam heating systems and replacing them with new hot water heating systems, following the discovery of piping leaks. A modern, digital building automation system was also provided for each location. The team designed the new building electric services, backfeed of the existing electrical distributions, and the power for the lighting, as well as coordinated the new electric services with the electric utility (PECO) and prepared utility service applications on behalf of the FLP. Arora also designed an addressable fire alarm system and an intrusion detection system for each branch location. Arora Systems Group (ASG) assisted with the installation, testing, and inspection, and is responsible for on-going maintenance of the security and fire alarm systems for these branches. 

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