Created with input from users like you, the Free Library's website is designed to be functional and easy to navigate. You'll notice that the homepage is divided into three main color-coded sections: Find (blue), Explore (green) and Ask (orange). A horizontal gray bar provides additional information about the Library. You can find each of these colored sections on every page of the website.
This guide takes a close look at each section's main features. If you need quick help, try our Frequently Asked Questions.
Features of the Find Section
There is a convenient search box at the top of every page. This feature allows you to enter a word or phrase and find information from many Library sources.
You can also search our catalog exclusively by clicking the Catalog link below the search box on our homepage.
What it searches:
The Find search box searches the resources listed below and organizes the results under two tabs:
- Catalog. A Find search always returns Library catalog results first, as the default screen.
- FLP Website Search. Find any Free Library web pages that contain your search terms. (See below for detailed information about Site Search.)
Using our Google-powered site search, you can locate almost any of the information available on the Free Library's website. It works the same way a familiar Google search works. In this case, the search is confined to Free Library pages. This does not include the catalog or our subscription databases.
Just click the Site Search link below the search box. The results will be a list of Free Library pages that contain your terms. Site Search can find a variety of information, from Library hours to events and collections, and everything in between.
Site Search includes:
- The Library's Calendar of Events
- The Library's Digital Image Collections
- Branch information
- Philly FAQs
- Departmental/Subject FAQs
- Free Library recommended weblinks
- Community resources
- Free Library online booklists
- Library press releases
- And more
- Some electronic resources are available from non-Library computers, and can be accessed by logging in with your Library card number and PIN, while other resources are only available within the Library. You are able to access all of the resources that are available from your current location. You will also see a list of additional resources that are available at the Library. Please come to the Library if you are interested in searching these additional resources.
Some electronic resources are available at all Library locations, while others are available only at specific locations. Each resources lists what it contains and where it is available.
- Available To: Central Library indicates an electronic resource that is only available within the Central Library
- Available To: All Free Library Locations indicates an electronic resource that is available at all Free Library locations (the Central Library, regional libraries, and all of the branches).
- Available To: Internet with authentication indicates an electronic resource that is available from non-Library computers, by logging in with a Library card number and PIN.
Features of the Explore Section
The green Explore section consists of selected Free Library resources on popular topics.
Contents of Topics
- Catalog Items. These are booklists created by our librarians. Each item includes an image of the book cover (when available), as well as publication information. Clicking a book's link brings up the catalog listing and the ability to request the title with a Library card and PIN.
- Electronic Resources. These are recommended resources that are chosen by our librarians. They are places to search for articles and citations that are relevant to the topic.
- Web Sites. Internet links for further exploration of the topic.
Features of the Ask Section
When you have questions, the orange Ask a Librarian section offers several ways to interact with our librarians:
- Online Chat. Have questions? Talk live online with librarians who are ready to help. You can access the service 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Online chat is provided by librarians from the Free Library of Philadelphia and participating libraries across Pennsylvania.
- Visit. Find your neighborhood Free Library branch. You can find a location by keyword, ZIP code, neighborhood (map), or branch name. Branch pages include detailed information on many aspects of the branches.
- Knowledge Base. This feature offers you information developed by our staff. Knowledge Base allows you to browse our many booklists, FAQs, guides, and weblinks. Browse by searching, by topic, or by most popular topic.
The Gray Bar
At the top of each page, you'll notice a horizontal gray bar divided into sections. These sections contain information about the many facets of the Free Library.
Locate information about all of our libraries by clicking Locations in the gray bar on any page. There are several ways to find the location nearest to you. You can search by keyword, enter your zip code, look at a map, or find the library name in a list. You'll find maps, directions, hours, events, and even the histories of our libraries.
Browse the Free Library's many events on our calendar page. Events are listed by location, date, and type.
Programs & Services
This section lists descriptions and contact information for the Free Library's many offerings. Programs & Services can be sorted by categories: Children, Teens, Adults, and Families.
About the Library
The About the Library section is the place to learn about everything from our special collections to job opportunities at the Free Library.
Support the Library
There are a number of ways to support the Free Library of Philadelphia. You can offer a financial gift or spend some time volunteering with us.
Written by Free Library staff, our blog is full of in-depth information, commentary, and discussion of our programs, services, resources, events, and catalog offerings; as well as topics such as literature, art, music, history, poetry, pop culture, and everything in between.
Other Important Features
At the top-right of every page is a link to access your account online. After entering your Library card number and PIN, you'll be able to change your PIN, view, and renew Library materials you've checked out, see books we're holding for you, and review any fees you might have. If you can't remember your PIN, we can email it to you.
A Free Library card is available at no cost to anyone who lives, works, pays taxes, or goes to school in the City of Philadelphia. In addition, anyone who lives in the state of Pennsylvania can obtain a Free Library card without charge.
If you're 13 or older, you can get a new Library card by registering online Keep in mind that you'll need to show ID the first time you use your card to checkout physical material.
The Free Library of Philadelphia respects your privacy. We collect no private, personal information unless you voluntarily supply it. For more information, please read our Privacy Statement.
The Free Library's RSS feeds provide automatic updates on selected Library lectures and events.
We welcome you to write us with your questions and comments about the Free Library website. Please include your email address if you would like a reply. We try to respond to all queries within a few days.