Temple’s New $144 Million Library Moves Forward


Imagined rendering of the new Temple library on Broad Street from the University’s master plan

A new $144 million, 300-350,000 square foot library just north of McGonigle Hall on North Broad Street will be a beacon of Temple University’s “more urban and urbane campus,” according to a request for design proposals sent recently to architects.

The project, under the direction of new university architect Margaret Carney, follows on the goals set by Temple’s 2020 Framework masterplan and a 2008 library assessment and includes $50 million in funding from the state, approved by Governor Corbett.

A library, of course, is no longer just a library and this one, which will replace the outmoded 1966 Paley Library on 13th Street, is indicative of our changing architectural expectations. No longer does a library merely function as a storehouse for books and a place for study, but also it must perform. Carney told the Inquirer’s Joe DiStefano she expects the new library to act as a “living room” for the city. It is also expected to serve as a symbol of the University’s rising star in academia and in the city, adapt to research technology, provide social and interactive spaces, ample study facilities, rooms for prestigious specialized collections, and mark a major new axis point for a campus turning itself inside out in order to integrate into the streetlife of the city.

In this last respect, landscape design will play a large role in the overall site plan for the project–fitting for a parcel that was once part of the park-like Monument Cemetery, whose unsettling fate our Katrina Ohstrom documented last year.

About the author

Nathaniel Popkin is co-editor of the Hidden City Daily and author of three books of non-fiction, including the forthcoming Philadelphia: Finding the Hidden City (Temple Press) and a novel, Lion and Leopard (The Head and the Hand Press). He is the senior writer of the film documentary "Philadelphia: The Great Experiment."


  1. Oh thank the powers that be, there will be windows! Real ones! With natural light instead of fluorescent bulbs.

    • Keep in mind the rendering shown here is not the building that will be built, but one imagined by the master planners involved in the 2020 plan. Architects still have to respond to the RFP and one has to be selected. Still, you’re likely to get your natural light. –ed.

  2. Can they make it like the OBA in Amsterdam… stunning building inside and out… restaurant at the top with stunning views.

    I loved studying there. Everything a library should be.


  3. 144 million?

    Could have sworn Temple was just crying a river about getting their budget cut by 1.5 percent.

    • Temple is investing 1.1B in their campus through the year 2020. The investment is being financed through bonds and fundraising efforts through their endowment.

    • They are complaining about cuts to the operating budget….dollars for projects like these are from the Capital budget which absolutely cannot be used for operating expenses…..

Leave a Reply

Comment moderation is enabled, no need to resubmit any comments posted.

Recent Posts
In Sharswood, Effort To Save Dox Thrash House Gains Momentum

In Sharswood, Effort To Save Dox Thrash House Gains Momentum

March 20, 2018  |  News

As modern urban renewal continues to erase African-American history in North Philly, one group works against the odds to preserve a renowned Philadelphia artist's legacy. Starr Herr-Cardillo has the story > more

New 40th Street Trolley Portal Design Dull On Arrival

New 40th Street Trolley Portal Design Dull On Arrival

March 19, 2018  |  Vantage

University City District's beautification of the 40th Street Trolley Portal was high on concept, but appears to have fumbled on delivery. Contributor Ann de Forest has the full review > more

Confusion And Quibbling At Mayor's Preservation Task Force Meeting

Confusion And Quibbling At Mayor’s Preservation Task Force Meeting

March 15, 2018  |  News

Mayor Kenney's Historic Preservation Task Force convened today following the release of a draft of a summary of summaries on the state of preservation in Philadelphia. Logistical bickering and sticker activities ensued. Starr Herr-Cardillo reports > more

Remembering Philly's 1967 School Walkout & The Attack On Teen Activism

Remembering Philly’s 1967 School Walkout & The Attack On Teen Activism

March 13, 2018  |  Vantage

On the eve of the national student walkout honoring the victims of the Parkland shooting, Michael Bixler takes a look back at November 17, 1967 when teenage activists demonstrating for equal rights became the target of a violent police attack > more

Oscar's Tavern Still Parties Like It's 1972

Oscar’s Tavern Still Parties Like It’s 1972

March 12, 2018  |  The Shadow Knows

The Shadow saddles up to the bar at Oscar's Tavern where the spirit of "Old Philadelphia" is as effervescent as their lagers > more

Back When We Burned Trash On The Delaware River

Back When We Burned Trash On The Delaware River

March 9, 2018  |  Harry K's Encyclopedia

Harry K. takes us on a whirlwind exploration of Philadelphia's notorious garbage problem, starting with the long-gone East Central Incinerator at Penn's Landing and then sailing around the globe before returning to today's trashy situation > more