Kingsessing Library Celebrates Its 100th Birthday!

Enjoying the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Kingsessing Library were (from left)
librarian Ben Remsen, Taifa Jengaji-El, Conita Pierson, and Rachel Hayes.
Enjoying the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Kingsessing Library were (from left) librarian Ben Remsen, Taifa Jengaji-El, Conita Pierson, and Rachel Hayes.

The Kingsessing Library at 1201 S. 51st Street celebrated its 100th’ birthday on December 5, 2019, with a full afternoon of activities. Kingsessing was the 22nd of the libraries established in Philadelphia through the foresight and generosity of the Andrew Carnegie Endowment. It was renovated in 1999 as part of the Free Library’s “Changing Lives” program.

The centennial affair was hosted by librarian Ben Remsen who welcomed speakers Lynn Williamson, State Senator Anthony Hardy Williams, State Representative James Roebuck, Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell, and Jo Ann Fishburn and LaVerne Mooty of the Friends of Kingsessing Library. 

The public was treated to an astounding display of pictures and stories of the community using, supporting, and enjoying the library over the course of its 100-year history. It included artwork made by neighborhood youngsters this year and dozens of visitors added their stories of the library and the Kingsessing neighborhood in a Story Share, which was recorded for posterity.

The centennial celebration also featured live entertainment, including an African dance lesson from the Coalition of African and Caribbean Communities, a performance by the Music is Soul Good band made up of 8-14 year-olds from the Kingsessing Recreation Center led by instructor Edie Owens, and the reading of a poem written by students from Mastery Hardy Williams High, especially for the occasion.

Young people were invited to participate in a range of activities sponsored by the John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge, Historic Bartram’s Gardens, and Studio Ludo. Food was provided by Little Delicious, Carrot Cake Man, Philly Pretzel Factory, and more.

Information and photo for this article was graciously provided by Kingsessing librarian Ben Remsen.

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