1901 Vine Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103
Through this Lens: African American Photographers
An exhibition of books and other materials from the collections of the Art Department offers a look at the camera work of African American artists from the earliest days of photography to today; on display in the 2nd floor landing cases until March 15
Sat, Mar 9, 10:00 A.M.
Registration will open Tuesday, February 19th at 12:00pm Called long-stitch because of the long stitches visible on the spine of the…
Now through Fri, Mar 15, 10:00 A.M.
This exhibition of books and other materials from the collections of the Art Department offers a look at the camera work of African American…
Mon, Mar 25, 6:00 P.M.
The Free Library of Philadelphia is thrilled to partner with Philadelphia's beloved film screening series, The Secret Cinema , now in its…
Thu, Mar 28, 6:00 P.M.
Join Free Library of Philadelphia's Map Collection curator Megan MacCall for an exploration of the colorful art of pictorial maps!…
Now through Sat, Apr 13, 5:00 P.M.
Explore the long history of working-class housing in Philadelphia including the ubiquitous row home and the many residences that have disappeared…
Sat, Apr 27, 9:00 A.M.
In this workshop you will construct a simple storage book made of folded card stock in which windows have been cut, held together with a spine.…
The Art Department maintains a comprehensive reference and circulating collection of over 60,000 books on the fine arts, architecture, garden design, interior design, fashion, graphic arts, crafts, collectibles, and photography. Books are available for loan on all these topics, including a large circulating collection of instructional books on all aspects of arts and crafts, including drawing, painting, sculpture, knitting, crochet, embroidery, papercrafts and photography.
The private library of John Frederick Lewis (1860-1932), an important Philadelphia collector and bibliophile, comprised of books on the arts from the 17th century until the early 20th Century is housed at the Regional Operations Center and available through the Art Department.
The Art Department also holds an extensive selection of files on artists, architects, designers and collectors, and the art & architecture of Philadelphia. These include article clippings, gallery announcements, artist statements, exhibition catalogs, and other ephemera related to artists and art subjects. Please consult Art Department librarians for access.
A broad selection of databases is available to all Free Library patrons. The following have a close focus on art and architecture subjects:
A significant collection of art periodicals may be used in the library. The Art Department currently subscribes to over 70 periodicals, listed here:
Please consult Art Department librarians for access to current and recent issues of periodicals that are not on the magazine rack.
Among these is small selection of popular magazines that are available to borrow. Circulating periodicals may be borrowed for up to three weeks and renewed. These include current and recent issues of American Craft, Antiques, Aperture, Architectural Digest, Art in America, Art News, Bead and Button, Digital Photo, Knitter’s Magazine, Martha Stewart Living, Quilting Arts, School Arts and This Old House.
Exhibitions and workshops
Exhibitions of work by local artist groups or material from our collections are always on display in our hallway gallery. The Art Department regularly hosts workshops with a focus on the book arts and an annual artists' book fair in partnership with the Philadelphia Center for the Book.
Are you an educator interested in bringing a class to the Art Department? You may contact us in advance by emailing ErefArt@freelibrary.org and let us know what kinds of library materials would best support your course and we will work with you to help you gather books and other materials on a given subject. Take a look at our growing number of topical book lists:
Email eRefArt@freelibrary.org for information requests or to join our email list for future event notifications.