You can borrow up to 100 pictures from our Print and Picture loan collection on your library card for 3 weeks with one phone renewal. The loan collection is arranged topically and consists of a number of different types of material including: news photos, clippings from books and magazines, and mounted images. You may not borrow material from our special reference collections of fine art prints, fine art photographs or local history, but you may look at any of this material Monday through Friday, 9-5 pm.
The Print and Picture Collection has a large Philadelphia history collection of photographs and prints. We also have a good-sized fine art print and photograph collection that emphasizes local artists. There is a portrait collection of over 200,000 etchings, engravings, lithographs and photographs. In addition, we have a large collection of picture postcards, greeting cards and tradecards. There are several additional smaller special collections as well.
Unless your house has some historical significance or is next to a building that does, the Print and Picture Collection is unlikely to have a photograph of it. While we have a large portrait collection, most of the prints are of fairly famous or noteworthy people. The Library can direct your research to other resources.
Yes, the Print and Picture Collection accepts donations if they are photographs or prints depicting events or buildings, especially in Philadelphia. We have a large collection of old photographs and historical prints documenting the history of Philadelphia and are always looking for additional material.
You can call the Print and Picture Collection with your request (circulating pictures only) and our staff will leave a modest amount of files next door in the Art Department for you to use after 5 p.m. on a weekday or on Saturday or Sunday. You are able to check out these pictures at the Art Reference Desk.
No. Material borrowed from the Print and Picture Collection must be returned either to the Collection or to the Art Department in the Central Library. Material can be returned through the mail as well if properly packaged.
If you phone first, most books in the Children's Literature Research Collection can be pulled for night or weekend use in the Central Children's Department.
The Music Department has over 250,000 sheet music titles, as well as numerous collections of songs from different eras. We also have guides to finding songs in musical anthologies and collections.
Copyright forms for songwriters are available in the Music Department and in the Government Publications Department. Copyright Forms are also available online from the U.S. Copyright Office website.
Note: The U.S. Copyright Office forms must be printed on BOTH sides of a single sheet of paper to be accepted.
Anyone of any age with a valid library card may borrow up to 20 items from the Central Children's Department.
Special programs for children include: the Summer Reading Game; Infant and Parent Lap Time series for children from 3 to 15 months old; Toddler Story Time series for children from 15 months to 3 years old; Preschool Potpourri series for children from 1 to 4 years old; LEAP after-school program for grades 1 through 12.
The Newspapers and Microfilm Center does not have the actual newspapers but does have an extensive microfilm collection of over 400 Philadelphia newspapers dating back to 1720.
- Chronological Listings of Newspapers held by the Free Library of Philadelphia Newspaper Department
- Alphabetical Listings of Newspapers held by the Free Library of Philadelphia Newspaper Department
- Newspapers by City
- Underground Newspapers - Alphabetical Listings
- Underground Newspapers - Geographical (National)
- Underground Newspapers - Geographical (International)
You may ask one of our staff members about getting a copy of the front page of any of these newspapers.
Most, but by no means all, of the Rare Book Department's books are in the online catalog.
Users can limit their search to Rare Book Department holdings only. One option is to first search the online and then refine (via the left column) by Collection. Another option is to "Browse the Catalog" by Collection, and then select "Rare Book Department."
Catalogs or inventories for the department's collections that are not yet electronically cataloged, including non-Western manuscripts, incunabula, the Carson law collection, Pennsylvania German imprints, and the Horace collection are available in the department. For more details, see the Resource Guides page.
Affiliate of The Foundation Center in New York since 1974. Located on the 2nd floor of the Central Library in the Social Science & History-Department.
Maintain an up-to-date, comprehensive research collection; Provide free and open access to all materials and resources; Encourage and promote acceptable standards for grantsmanship.
Full-time staff members to assist patrons using the collection. Thousands of books, journals, and pamphlets; Annual reports and IRS returns (forms 990PF) from local foundations; Clipping files on important fundraising topics; Electronic databases and Internet access to Nonprofit information.
Provide nonprofit groups access to print and computerized resources. Answer hundreds of reference and referral requests monthly. Link nonprofit organizations to local technical service providers. Present free orientations on selected Tuesdays and Saturdays.
The Regional Foundation Center is open Mondays through Friday, from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. We are also open a half-day on the first Saturday of each month, from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. Please call if you have questions about changes in the Saturday hours because of holidays or library closings.
Yes you may renew your library card at the Central Library. Visit the Philbrick Popular Library on the first floor and ask at the Circulation Desk.
Oxford Art Online, AskART, Art Abstracts, Artfact Pro, Avery Index to Architectural Periodicals, Art Index Retrospective, Art Sales Database, Artists Signatures, Gordon's Art Datastore. All of the above are available from computers in the Central Library and there are links from our homepage to other art resources worldwide.
- More than 350 titles by or about Ben Franklin
- Franklin's complete writings in several editions, including the 37 volumes of the monumental The Papers of Benjamin Franklin (Yale University Press)
- Access - electronic, or in print - to scores of scholarly journals concerning American history and culture during Franklin's era, and the recently acquired Archive of Americana, digitized reproductions of contemporary printed materials from every aspect of American life in the 17th, 18th, and early 19th centuries
- In the Central Library's Rare Book Department, many books from Franklin's own press - as well as a collection of Robert Lawson's drawings for Ben and Me
- In Central's Print and Picture Collection, hundreds of portraits of Franklin and illustrations of his era
- In Central's Children's Department, more than 25 titles about Franklin, as well as many books of non-fiction or historical fiction set during Franklin's time; and, in the Children's Literature Research Collection, non-circulating books on similar subjects dating from the mid-19th to the 21st century
- Other items of interest from the 18th century, including maps, city directories, and local government documents