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Good Signs Ahead at Roxborough Library

Fundraising efforts are leading to improvements at local branch.

Signs are omens for many things. For the of the Free Library of Philadelphia, a new sign welcoming patrons to its Ridge Avenue location is the first in several steps to improvement.

Through both private and city funds, the branch will get an aesthetic and practical update over the next few years.

“Our goals are to have a new sign and to improve on our exterior landscaping… So once those are accomplished, we’ll start on our interior improvements,” Branch Manager Bruce Siebers said. “We’re really looking forward to have some new furniture, as some are in pretty bad condition and have been around for a long time.”

Thanks to local Friends of the Library, the branch has raised $9,000 on its way to the sign, he said.

And according to Siebers, a new elevator will be installed by 2014 in a project funded by the city to make the library more handicapped accessible. More disability friendly furniture is also on the horizon, he said.

Both the adult (and now) teen friends groups have hosted fundraisers and raffled gift baskets and Phillies tickets. Local restaurants may begin donating 5 percent of bills at certain times to the branch. 

On the sign itself, the public will have a hand in nearly all of the project's aspects. In addition to fundraising, a public vote at library will decide which design Roxborough green lights. Designs could be on display as early as late January. Interested parties may submit designs to the branch, as well.

Already, Roxborough experienced a technology boost, as a SmartBoard was installed for the ultimate goal, Siebers said, of “working with to invite classes to come in for the SmartBoard, but also for our literature resources.”

Siebers wants to work closer with at the library and also for in-class book discussions.

“With our staff shortages, it’s difficult for me to get out to the school, but some of the teachers have already brought (English and special education) classes to the library,” Siebers said, adding he’d like to work with , but will wait until the School District of Philadelphia finalizes its .

A veteran of the Free Library of Philadelphia for 24 years, Siebers returned to Roxborough in March 2011 after being out on medical leave.  He’s previously worked at Overbrook Park, George Institute and the Philadelphia Regional Library.

Currently, librarian Irene Klemas-Brady leads after-school LEAP tutoring and hosts pre-school storytimes. In addition, a teen book club should debut soon, to augment the adult counterpart. Coming up in March, the Roxborough branch will host a Mardi Gras celebration—look for King Cakes, a parade and beads.

For more information on the Roxborough Library programs, visit its website.

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