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Philbrick Hall in the Central Library

Libraries of PhiladelphiaPhiladelphia and the surrounding area are home to many types of libraries for all aspects of research.

Free Public Libraries:
Free Library of Philadelphia
Hosts multiple locations around the city, in order to promote and advance literacy, learning, and curiosity. The main branch of the Free Library of Philadelphia is located at
1901 Vine St.
A list of the libraries in and around Philadelphia that are associated with the Free Library of Philadelphia can be found here.

William Way Community Center Library and Reading Room
Collection of 10,000 fiction and non-fiction titles relating to the LGBT experience. Registered library users may check out books, and non-registered users may browse the collection and read books on-site. Contact the center at (215) 732-2220 or for hours.
Located at 1315 Spruce St.

Literacy Nation, INC.
The Literacy Nation movement is a national movement with its home base being located in Philadelphia. Geared toward making books more readily available to children and schools across the country. Founded by Richard E. Ashby Jr., and located at the 38th & Mt. Vernon Street Community Library.

Specialty Research Libraries:
The Library Company of Philadelphia
An independent research library specializing in American history and culture from the 17th through the 19th centuries; founded by Benjamin Franklin in 1731. It is free and open to the public, located at 1314 Locust Street.

The Historical Society of Philadelphia Library
A library that specializes in the history of the origins of Philadelphia and the United States from the colonial period onward. Located at 1300 Locust Street.

Wagner Free Institute of Science
An extensive collection of scientific works regarding the history and teaching of scientific technology, collected by the founder in the early 19th century. Free use by scholars and educational programs is permitted by appointment. Located at 1700 West Montgomery Avenue.

The Jenkins Law Library
The nation's first and oldest law library dedicated to uniting people and information within the legal system. Located at 833 Chestnut Street, Suite 1220.

The Donald F. and Mildred Topp Othmer Library of Chemical History
The library linked with the Chemical Heritage Foundation, encompassing the history of chemistry and related sciences and industries. Open to all users, through appointment and request, located at 315 Chestnut Street.

John J. Wilcox Jr. GLBT Archives of Philadelphia
Materials relating to the history of the GLBT community in the Philadelphia area. To schedule a visit, e-mail . Located at 1315 Spruce St.

Library at the Herbert D. Katz Center for Advanced Judaic Studies
From the library website: "The Library at the Katz Center holds approximately 200,000 volumes, including 32 (17 Hebrew and 15 Latin) incunabula and over 8,000 rare printed works, mainly in Hebrew, English, German, French, Yiddish, Arabic, Latin, and Ladino. The rare Hebrew editions offer specimens from a variety of Hebrew printing houses around the world; particularly strong are holdings of early modern rare books printed on the Italian peninsula, including nearly 20 percent of all Venetian Hebrew imprints. The CAJS Library special collections of non-print materials include 453 codices written in eleven different alphabets as well as in twenty-four different languages and dialects as varied as Armenian, Hebrew, Judeo-Arabic, Syriac, Yiddish and Telugu, a collection of ancient artifacts dating from ca. 2,500 BCE and nearly 600 medieval manuscript fragments from the Cairo Genizah."
Public admitted by appointment only; to make an appointment, call (215) 238-1290 ext. 206
Located at 420 Walnut St.

Fleisher Orchestral Library
The world's largest lending library of orchestral performance material, containing over 21,000 titles. The Edwin A. Fleisher Collection lends material worldwide and houses many rare and out-of-print works. This collection is open to the public, through the Free Library of Philadelphia, and its lending service is available upon written request. Located on the first floor of the Central Building of the Free Library of Philadelphia: 1314 Locust Street.

Museum Libraries:
Rosenbach Museum and Library
A collection of rare manuscripts, papers, and art from various authors, poets, philosophers, and artists, including Maurice Sendak--"The Rosenbach seeks to inspire curiosity, inquiry, and creativity by engaging broad audiences in exhibitions, programs, and research based on its remarkable and expanding collections" (Rosebach Museum & Library Mission Statement). Admission is open to the public; located at 2008-2010 Delancey Place.

The Masonic Library and Museum of Philadelphia
A library collection dedicated to the history and artifacts of Philadelphia's Masonic history. Founded in memory of John Wanamaker, the first Chairman of the Library Committee. Located at 1 North Broad Street.

The Philadelphia Museum of Art Library
A collection of over 200,000 books, auction catalogues, and periodicals from the sixteenth century through the present which describe and recall the museum's various collections throughout its history. Admission is open to the public, located at 2600 Benjamin Franklin Parkway.

The Museum Library at Penn
A collection emphasizing anthropology, archeology, anthropological linguistics, and museology, with special attention paid to to the research of the faculty in the Department of Anthropology and curatorial staff of the University Museum. Admission to non-Penn persons is permitted with presentation of valid government or school-issued I.D. Located at 3260 South Street.

Athanaeum of Philadelphia
A independent member-supported library with a collection designed to exhibit objects and antiquities of American historical value. It is a resource of first resort on matters of architecture and interior design history from 1800-1945. Admission is made through appointment; located at 219 S. 6th St.

J. Welles Henderson Archives & Library of the Independence Seaport Museum
Archival and reference collections relating to maritime history. Open to the public by appointment only, 10 A.M.- 4:30 P.M. on weekdays. There is an abundance of online resources, including digitized images from the collection. Located at 211 S. Christopher Columbus Blvd. (Penn's Landing.)

University Libraries:
University of Pennsylvania Library
The University of Pennsylvania has libraries all across its campus. (For a list of all the Penn libraries on campus and their locations, click here). Many of the Penn libraries are open to the public during weekdays from 9 to 6 with the presentation of a valid government or school-issued photo I.D.

Hagerty Library (Drexel University)
Drexel University's Hagerty Library is available to all Drexel students, faculty, alumni, and staff with the presentation of valid Drexel I.D. Other visitors are granted access with the presentation of valid photo I.D. Located at 3141 Chestnut Street.

Hahnemann Medical Library (Drexel University)
A collection which supports the curricula of the College of Nursing and Health Professions, College of Medicine, and the School of Public Health, and includes materials in clinical medicine and basic sciences. Located at 245 N. 15th St.

Paul Gutman Library (Philadelphia University)
The main library for Philadelphia University; the staff work with the University in order to promote institutional literacy among the students. Located at 4201 Henry Avenue.

Temple University Library
Temple's libraries house collections of differing natures in order to cover all interests and necessities of the student and faculty population, including medical, health sciences, and law. (For a list of the associated Temple libraries, click here).

The University of the Arts Library
The University of the Arts Library offers a collection including databases many various arts, music, and literature. Access is granted to all UArts students, faculty, and staff with valid university I.D. Access is granted to the general public during normal weekday hours with the presentation of valid photo I.D. (For a list of the associated UArts Libraries, their hours, and locations, click here).

Page by: Karen R. Sague

Updated on 12/1/2012