Joseph E. Coleman Northwest Regional Library

Joseph E. Coleman Northwest Regional Library is temporarily closed.

Friday, November 20 – Message from Staff

The health and safety of our staff and customers is our utmost priority.  In the interest of limiting the impact and spread of COVID-19, all Free Library buildings will be closed to the public starting Friday, November 20.  While our buildings remain closed, some branches may resume offering contactless materials pickup and returns on November 30, subject to Philadelphia Department of Health guidance.  In the meantime, many programs are proceeding virtually and our award-winning digital resources are available 24/7.

68 West Chelten Avenue
Philadelphia, PA 19144-2795
Greene St. & Chelten Ave.

Upcoming Events

Children's Meal Distribution

Tue, December 1, 2020 11:00 A.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…

Free Nutrition Classes (Virtual)

Wed, December 2, 2020 6:30 P.M.

We are offering a free, 4-week series for adults. You will learn about: Family-friendly recipes Balanced meals and snacks Healthy hydration Meal planning and food safety, and more Pre-registration…

Free Nutrition Classes (Virtual)

Thu, December 3, 2020 1:00 P.M.

We are offering a free, 4-week series for adults. You will learn about: Family-friendly recipes Balanced meals and snacks Healthy hydration Meal planning and food safety, and more Pre-registration…

Free Nutrition Classes (Virtual)

Sat, December 5, 2020 12:00 P.M.

We are offering a free, 4-week series for adults. You will learn about: Family-friendly recipes Balanced meals and snacks Healthy hydration Meal planning and food safety, and more Pre-registration…

About

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.

History

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.