ALA Midwinter 2020

One Final Thing at #alamw20… Scenes from the Philly Free Library

“Nerd out as long as you want.” This is what one library staff said to me when I wandered into the children’s room at the Parkway Central Library in Philly, when I explained I was here for ALA Midwinter and just needed to “nerd out.” I mean, I can’t visit a new city and NOT visit the main library. And I am one of the fortunate ones whose train doesn’t leave until tomorrow morning, so that’s what I did today after the Youth Media Awards.

front of the library buildingThe main library is a big impressive building and very easy to get to from the conference. I really appreciate how user-friendly SEPTA — Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority — is. I grabbed the #32 bus on the curb by the Convention Center and took it eight stops down where it let me off right in front of the building. Though chartered in 1891 by Dr. William Pepper, the current building wasn’t until 1927 (the original library was housed in the basement of City Hall!).

I did a little wandering myself and then took a very informative tour with exclusive access (the tour was free of course!). I hope the following list inspires you or at least is nice eye candy for those who are both #alaleftbehind and just couldn’t make it. These are only some of the cool things at the Parkway Library. If you want to see it for yourself, it’s well worth the trip.

the interior of a hallway
Tracks leading to the children’s room.
a kitchen
The Philly Free Library was the first public library to have a teaching kitchen — the Culinary Literacy Center!
image of a display on a table
Does your teen space have a “Self Care Station”?
a large room with empty shelves
BRIC (the Business, Research, and Innovation Center) used to be stacks.









Erica Ruscio is a Young Adult Librarian at Ventress Memorial Library in Marshfield, MA. She is currently serving on ALSC’s Advocacy & Legislation Committee and on YALSA’s Excellence in Nonfiction 2020 Committee.

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