For Release: Immediately
Department of External Affairs
Free Library of Philadelphia
1901 Vine Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103-1189
(215) 567-7710
FAX (215) 567-7850
Contact: Communications and Development
For Release: Immediately
Contact: Communications and Development

The Free Library to Resume Services Inside Select Libraries

PHILADELPHIA, January 12, 2020—Many of the Free Library’s locations will resume in-building services starting January 19, including borrowing and returning materials, access to computers and Wi-Fi, printing, reference desk services, and more. There are 20 libraries scheduled to resume these services, with more on the way in the near future.

Throughout the pandemic, the Free Library has been open, providing services virtually and using contact-free materials pick-up, but resuming in-building services allows us to expand those services within our communities.

“The Free Library is an important resource for our communities, and our staff has worked tirelessly to ensure those resources are available in a safe setting during the pandemic,” said Interim Director Leslie M. Walker. “Services may look different than our patrons are used to, but the Library and its staff are here to help connect Philadelphians to the information they need.”

Inside libraries, a number of measures have been taken to ensure the safety of our staff and our patrons, including following guidelines from the Philadelphia Department of Public Health. Plexiglas barriers have been installed at the check-out counters, capacity limits are being enforced, sanitizing stations have been placed throughout the buildings, and Space Pad decals have been installed on the floors marking safe social distance. These Space Pads show patrons where to stand to remain six feet apart.

The Space Pad project is a collaboration between the Philadelphia Department of Public Health, Mural Arts Philadelphia, and the Partnership for Healthy Cities global network. As part of its COVID-19 Response, the Partnership provides technical assistance and practical resources geared toward challenges every city is likely to face, including a virtual platform for urban leaders to share experiences and best practices. Since 2017, the Partnership has been supported by Bloomberg Philanthropies and works in partnership with the World Health Organization (WHO) and the global health organization Vital Strategies. 

Some libraries require an appointment for materials pickup to ensure safety and social distancing measures are in place.  Many libraries are also offering materials pickup that allows patrons to check out materials with limited interaction or time indoors. A hold can be placed on items online or in person and patrons will be notified when their holds are ready to be picked up at a library that offers this service. To see a full list of services offered by each neighborhood library, visit or call 1-833-TALK FLP (825-5357) between 10:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays, or between 10:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. on Wednesdays.

There are also many ways to access the Free Library’s resources virtually. Patrons can check out ebooks, and stream movies and music at Visit to find study materials, learn a language, or take an online class. There are also a number of virtual storytimes, lectures, author events, and other programs taking place on our website. See the full selection at


Department of External Affairs, Free Library of Philadelphia, 1901 Vine Street, Philadelphia, PA 19103-1189
(215) 567-7710, FAX (215) 567-7850