Joseph E. Coleman Northwest Regional Library

Services and hours are subject to change — please call in advance. Before you visit, please review our new COVID-19 guidelines.

Wednesday, September 2 – Message from Staff

Welcome Back!  Starting Monday, August 31 we will be open for very limited in-person computer use, from 1-4:30 pm, Monday through Fridays.  We are happy to have you back, but please understand library use is different right now.  Masks must be worn, physical distancing will be enforced, and you may be asked to wait outside until your computer turn, based on occupancy limits.  We are not able to offer in person programs and it is not possible to browse the collection at this time.  Our drop-box is still open and we will continue to deliver your holds.  Thanks so much for your patience as we all figure out how to find our place during these strange times.

Thursday, August 20 – Message from Staff

Are you looking for a good book or DVD? 

Give us a call and place a hold. Or, you can place your hold online with your library card and PIN. 

If you want to reach us, call 215-685-2151.  

68 West Chelten Avenue
Philadelphia, PA 19144-2795
Greene St. & Chelten Ave.
Open today until 4:30 p.m.
Sunday Closed
Monday 1:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Tuesday 1:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Wednesday 1:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Thursday 1:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Friday 1:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Saturday Closed

Upcoming Closures

  • Mon., Oct. 12 : Closed Indigenous Peoples' Day
  • Wed., Nov. 11 : Closed Veterans Day
  • Thu., Nov. 26 : Closed Thanksgiving Day
  • Fri., Dec. 25 : Closed Christmas Day
View all holiday closings


  • Baby changing station
  • Bicycle rack
  • Book drop box
  • Change machine
  • Children's only restroom
  • Computer lab
  • Computers for public use
  • Electrical outlets available
  • Handicapped accessible
  • Meeting space (reservation required)
  • Photocopier (black/white)
  • Printing (black/white)
  • Public restrooms
  • Street parking (free)
  • Street parking (metered)
  • Water fountain
  • Wireless internet access (wi/fi)

Upcoming Events

Nutrition Chat

Tue, September 29, 2020 1:00 P.M.

Einstein’s F.U.N. SNAP-Ed program has partnered with north central Free Library of Philadelphia locations to host a virtual nutrition discussion. Nutrition experts will be on hand to answer…

Children's Meal Distribution

Tue, September 29, 2020 2:00 P.M.

We are offering a free, weekly meal distribution to school children, or families of school children, up to 18 years old.  Each child will receive a "5-Day Meal Kit" containing 5…

Virtual Book Club for Kids | Ages 9 - 12

Wed, September 30, 2020 3:00 P.M.

Do you love to read?  Do you like to talk about what you are reading?  If so, then this group is for you! This September we'll be reading The First Rule of Punk , by Celia C.…

CANCELLED - Children's Meal Distribution

Tue, October 6, 2020 2:00 P.M.

We are offering a free, weekly meal distribution to school children, or families of school children, up to 18 years old.  Each child will receive a "5-Day Meal Kit" containing 5…


Originally, the Germantown Branch Library, in 2002, the library was renamed in honor of Joseph E. Coleman, Philadelphia's first African-American City Council President. The library serves Northwest Philadelphia and features Regional Ricky, a life-size, reader-friendly dragon.


Germantown was founded in 1683, one year after William Penn founded Philadelphia. Many historic events occurred in Germantown, including the first public protest against slavery in English America (1688), and the Battle of Germantown (1777). Germantown Avenue, a block away from Coleman Northwest Regional Library, is an old Indian trail called Main Street by the first settlers.

In 1895, Germantown Branch Library opened in Vernon Hall at Chelten and Germantown Avenues. The library moved to Vernon House, known at the time as Wister Mansion, in 1898. Vernon House is currently located in the center of Vernon Park a half block north of Chelten Avenue between Germantown Avenue and Greene Street.

In 1907, a new Carnegie library building opened in Vernon Park. It served as the Germantown Branch Library until Tuesday, July 25, 1978, when the Northwest Regional Library officially opened to the public. Northwest was the third regional library in the Free Library system. In 1986, Center in the Park, an activity center for older adults, opened in the former Germantown Branch Library.

Northwest Regional Library was renovated in 1997 as part of the "Changing Lives" campaign, which brought Internet service to every library. In 2002, the Northwest Regional Library was renamed the Joseph E. Coleman Northwest Regional Library. Coleman served City Council for 20 years, and he was for 12 years (1980-1992) the first African-American president of Philadelphia City Council. As a member of City Council, Mr. Coleman worked for the development of the Northwest Regional Library and its location at the corner of Chelten Avenue and Greene Street.

The Dragon Sculpture by Stewart Paul was originally installed in the children's department, but has since been moved to the lobby, where it overlooks the amphitheatre and the children's department. The mural of medieval knights and a variety of animals was painted by Richard Watson.