Philadelphia City Institute

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

Friday, September 25 – Message from Staff

Appointments are Available for Materials Pickup:

Monday, September 28: 4 pm - 6:30 pm
Tuesday, September 29: 10 am - noon, 1 pm - 4 pm
Wednesday, September 30: 10: am - noon, 1 pm - 4 pm
Thursday, October 1: 10 am - noon, 1 pm - 5 pm
Friday, October 2: 10 am - 1 pm

We are closed from noon to 1:00 pm Tuesday through Thursday

Appointments Are Available for Computer Access:

Tuesday, September 28, 1:00 pm - 3:45 pm
Wednesday, September 29, 1:00 pm - 3:45 pm
Thursday, October 1, 1:00 pm - 3:45 pm

Appointments can be made at the door or by phone (215-685-6621)

Our book drop is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Any oversized materials must be returned during the lobby hours listed above.

1905 Locust Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103-5730
19th & Locust on W. Rittenhouse Square
Open today until 3:45 p.m.
Sunday Closed
Monday By Appointment
Tuesday 1:00 p.m. – 3:45 p.m.
Wednesday 1:00 p.m. – 3:45 p.m.
Thursday 1:00 p.m. – 3:45 p.m.
Friday By Appointment
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

Facilities

  • Bicycle rack
  • Book drop box
  • Computers for public use
  • Printing (black/white)
  • Public restrooms
  • Street parking
  • Wireless internet access (wi/fi)
  • Scanner

About

Located on the first floor and lower level of a high-rise apartment building on the northwest corner of Rittenhouse Square, PCI serves the communities of Rittenhouse Square, Fitler Square, and people who live and work in Center City west of Broad Street.

History

The Philadelphia City Institute Board of Managers is a non-profit organization that has supported a free library in Center City, Philadelphia for 163 years. The Philadelphia City Institute Library (PCI) has had three locations: first, in 1855, on the northeast corner of 18th and Chestnut Streets; since 1956, at 1905 Locust Street, facing Rittenhouse Square. Today, the PCI Library functions as a branch of the Free Library of Philadelphia. The PCI Managers maintain ownership of the premises and the assets; with endowment income, they also provide operational support and funding for augmented staff, new materials, and equipment.

The PCI Board of Managers’ object was “the promotion of the moral and intellectual improvement of young persons by means of a Library and Reading Room, Lectures and class instruction, and such other measures as the Board of Managers may adopt.” Weekly lectures by prominent Philadelphians and free night schools were important activities of PCI in its early years. Initially these were reserved for young men, but PCI soon decided to “extend the advantages of the Institute to females.”

A mural by noted Philadelphia artist David McShane greets visitors to the library. Commissioned by the Friends of PCI in 2000, the mural reflects the history and mission of the branch and the diversity of the community it serves.