Filming at the Free Library of Philadelphia

By Victoria G. Tue, February 7, 2017

Did you know you can film your next feature film at the Free Library of Philadelphia? The Free Library is happy to work with students, novice, and professional filmmakers, as well as being a proud partner with the Greater Philadelphia Film Office!

The Greater Philadelphia Film Office (GPFO) is a local film commission dedicated to all things movies in the City of Philadelphia! GPFO works to grow the local film and video industry, attract film and video production to the region, and provide producers free assistance with all aspects of production—all in support of the huge economic impact and unparalleled public relations effect it has on Philadelphia. Check out the beautiful Beaux-Arts Parkway Central Library building as a featured location on the Greater Philadelphia Film Office’s website.

Here are ten reasons to shoot your next movie at one of our 54 Free Library locations:

  1. Chartered in 1891 and opened in 1927, Parkway Central’s spaces include the sweeping Grand Lobby and Staircase which features high plaster ceilings, ionic columns of carved limestone, and a dark green Tinos-tile and pink Tennessee marble floor. The backlit staircase is the perfect grand entrance for any character, ideal for a cinematic reveal.
     
  2. Parkway Central’s Culinary Literacy Center is a beautifully modern commercial-grade kitchen, classroom, and dining space, with excellent bright light and built-in TV technology for cooking demonstrations.
     
  3. Parkway Central’s Skyline Terrace and Green Roof features a wall of windows and an outdoor terrace, book-ended by one of the first green roofs built on a City of Philadelphia departmental building. The striking skyline views are complemented by a burst of nature in the middle of Center City.
     
  4.  In 1947, William McIntire Elkins bequeathed his entire collection to the Free Library—including the room itself, with its furnishings. The Rare Book Department’s Elkins Room is a 62-foot-long wood paneled Georgian room located on the third floor of Parkway Central. The room includes gems like Grip, the stuffed Raven once owned by Charles Dickens and the inspiration for Poe’s famous poem.
     
  5. The new South Philadelphia Library, the first of five pilot neighborhood libraries reimagined and reshaped as part of the Building Inspiration: 21st Century Libraries Initiative, provides 12,000 square feet of state-of-the-art, bright, modern, and welcoming spaces—including a community "living room" and a large-scale mural by renowned late author and illustrator Maurice Sendak.
     
  6. From 1905 to 1930, Philadelphia constructed 25 libraries with library grant money from Andrew Carnegie. The Philadelphia building program refined the Carnegie library building type: a T-shaped open plan, raised windows allowing for maximum book storage (and amazing light!), and open stacks showcasing books for the public. Today, 19 remaining Carnegie branch libraries (roughly half are listed on the local Register of Historic Places) showcase historic significance and a traditional library feel.
     
  7. The former stable and fire station at Fishtown Community Library was built in 1895. Originally used as a fire station for horse-drawn wagons, this library now includes an indoor balcony! Check out its rounded turret for fun flair.
     
  8. Serving the community of East Falls, the Falls of Schuylkill Library features English Collegiate architecture, a catfish weathervane on the cupola, and a beautiful outdoor garden maintained by a dedicated group of volunteers since the late 1980’s.
     
  9. Need to tell everyone you’re filming at the Free Library? Check out the striking, big, yellow LIBRARY sign at our Andorra Library (and don’t miss the mural above the picture book section, depicting the Philadelphia skyline and the Andorra Woods).
     
  10. Location, Location, Location!: With 54 locations throughout Philadelphia’s diverse neighborhoods, there’s a local library location to complement filming in every area of the city. Free Library locations run from historic to traditional to modern to funky, with each neighborhood bringing its own unique charm. See each library’s fun features in our #UniqueFreeLibraries Instagram series.
     

To explore more Free Library spaces, and learn more about filming and rental options, visit our Rentals page!

Just love movies? Check out how to stream movies—for free!—with your library card.

Filming on Parkway Central Library's roof
Filming on Parkway Central Library's roof
Filming in the Elkins Room
Filming in the Elkins Room

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