Literature Department

1901 Vine Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103

Open today until 9:00 p.m.

Sunday, 4/21 1:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Monday, 4/22 9:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m.
Tuesday, 4/23 9:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m.
Wednesday, 4/24 9:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m.
Thursday, 4/25 9:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m.
Friday, 4/26 9:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Saturday, 4/27 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
  • * Sunday had hour changes – Easter
  • * Friday has hour changes – staff development day
Sunday 1:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Monday 9:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m.
Tuesday 9:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m.
Wednesday 9:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m.
Thursday 9:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m.
Friday 9:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Saturday 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Upcoming Closures

  • Mon., May. 27 : Closed Memorial Day
  • Thu., Jul. 4 : Closed Independence Day
  • Mon., Sep. 2 : Closed Labor Day
  • Mon., Oct. 14 : Closed Columbus Day
  • Mon., Nov. 11 : Closed Veterans Day
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Upcoming Events

Hamlet (Performed by Philadelphia Shakespeare Theatre)

Wed, May 1, 7:00 P.M.

Tickets: $15.00    Click here to purchase tickets! Enjoy a 90-minute adaptation of one of Shakespeare’s most famous…

Monday Poets | “Whitman @ 200: Art and Democracy, featuring Leonard Gontarek and poets from the Poetry in Common Workshop.”

Mon, May 6, 6:30 P.M.

Walt Whitman's poetry spanned 19th century American life, and it is fitting that a bridge that crosses the Delaware river connecting…

Song-Poems: Whomst

Thu, May 16, 6:00 P.M.

Whomst, aka Kari Dramé is a non binary artist, singer/songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist from the Philadelphia area. Their practice…

Imaginations Take Flight: An Introduction to Creative Writing

Wed, May 22, 6:30 P.M.

In these 6 sessions, we will be writing to prompts provided by the facilitator.  Participants will be asked to read what they have written…

Song-Poems: Bill Nace

Thu, May 30, 6:00 P.M.

The second concert in the Art & Literature Department's 'Song-Poems' series, where Philadelphia musicians interpret and perform…

Book To Movie Night-BlackKklansman

Wed, Jul 10, 6:00 P.M.

Our first film series for 2019 asks the question: what was better, the book or the movie? BlackKklansman will be the fourth movie of this…

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The Literature Department is located with the Art Department in Pepper Hall, 2nd floor, Parkway Central, and houses over 60,000 books of American, English and World Literature. Our collection includes:

  • Poetry, plays, essays, humor, folklore, letters and author biographies
  • Criticism of American, English and World Literature, including criticism of novels and short stories
  • Writing and citation guidebooks
  • Books on movies, theater, journalism and media studies
  • Linguistics and books about the English language
  • ESL and foreign language learning books and CDs

Please note novels and short stories in English and foreign languages are found in Philbrick Hall on the first floor.

Some highlights of the Literature Department’s collection:

The 23-volume Oxford English Dictionary with the four-volume Additions series, invaluable for tracing the etymology and history of English words, is on reference in our Dictionary section.

For anyone one doing 19th century research, we own Poole’s Index to Periodical Literature (1802-1881) and Wellesley Index to Victorian Periodicals (1824-1990).  The full-text of most of the citations listed is available on microfilm.

The Ottemiller Collection, which includes reference copies of significant, English-language plays from 1900-1985.

A large, in-depth collection of works by and about Shakespeare, some of which circulate and some of which are Reference. The collection includes original copies of Howard Henry Furness’s Variorum, and many 18th and 19th century American and English imprints of Shakespeare’s works (in remote storage).  To request any of these items please ask for assistance at the reference desk as they are located in our regional offsite center also known as ROC.

In addition please take a look at our listing of additional electronic resources located here.