Tacony Library

Tacony Library is temporarily closed.

Thursday, November 19 – Message from Staff

Beginning at 4:45 PM on Thursday, November 19, 2020, the book return dropbox, located outside the Knorr St. entrance, will be locked while staff is away from the building. All locations of the Free Library of Philadelphia will be closed from Friday, November 20 - Sunday, November 29, 2020 in an effort to reduce the impact and spread of Covid 19. All library book returns will be locked. Due dates for materials have been extended, and overdue fines will not be charged.

Watch this space for updates on when staff will be returning to the building, as well as what services will be offered, possibly beginning Monday, November 30, 2020.

In the meantime, we wish all of our neighbors and friends a safe and healthy Thanksgiving Holiday and look forward to serving you again soon.

6742 Torresdale Avenue
Philadelphia, PA 19135-2416
Torresdale Ave. & Knorr St.


We are part of the transformational Building Inspiration: 21st Century Libraries Initiative. To find out more about this project - http://www.21stcenturylibraries.org/about-the-project


Swedish records of 1677 show 51 residents of "Taokanink," an Indian word for "woods" or "small creek." Since the area was along the Delaware river, it became a sparsely settled vacation community. This changed in 1872, when industrialist Henry Disston moved his sawmill from downtown Philadelphia to Tacony, transforming the area into a thriving industrial area. Disston provided housing for his employees and funded many community projects including the Tacony Music Hall on Longshore Avenue - a building that stands today.

The Tacony Library traces its roots back to the Keystone Scientific and Literary Association, founded in 1876 by M. Louise Thomas who envisioned "a library where the people could go and get books suited to all tastes . . . and a room . . . where they could sit with the books ranged round the walls." The Association met in a small frame schoolhouse, and later in the office of the New Era, a local paper. In addition to a small book collection, the Association also offered events such as spelling bees, and provided a forum for important speakers of the day, Susan B. Anthony and P.T. Barnum among them. In 1885, the Keystone Scientific and Literary Association changed its name to the Disston Library and Free Reading Room, and moved to the Music Hall.

In 1906, the Disston family bequeathed a plot of land at Torresdale Avenue and Knorr Street for the construction of a public library. With $43,380 from the Carnegie Foundation, the Tacony Branch opened on the evening of November 27, 1906. The new library reached a circulation of 70,000 in its initial year of operation.

Since its opening, the Tacony Branch has undergone extensive renovation. In 1927, the rear lecture room was remodeled and became the children's reading room. Additional renovations were undertaken in 1939 and 1959. The library was renovated again in 1998 as part of the "Changing Lives" campaign, which brought Internet service to every branch. The Tacony branch celebrated its centenary in 2006.