Literature Department

1901 Vine Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103

Open today 9:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.

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., Sep. 2 : Closed Labor Day
  • Mon., Oct. 14 : Closed Columbus Day
  • Mon., Nov. 11 : Closed Veterans Day
  • Thu., Nov. 28 : Closed Thanksgiving Day
  • Wed., Dec. 25 : Closed Christmas Day
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Upcoming Events

Monday Poets | Airea D. Matthews and Brian Teare

Mon, Sep 9, 6:30 P.M.

Airea D. Matthews is the author of  Simulacra  (Yale University Press, 2017), selected by Carl Phillips as the winner of the…

Home on Our Back: A Laureate’s Reading on the Poetics of Diaspora

Sat, Sep 14, 7:00 P.M.

Join us for a bi-city poetry collaboration between Boston Poet Laureate Porsha Olayiwola and Philadelphia Poet Laureate Raquel Salas Rivera ,…

Banned Together: 2019 Censorship Cabaret Philadelphia Premiere!

Mon, Sep 23, 7:00 P.M.

Banned Together: A Censorship Cabaret is back for its fourth year in a row and appearing for the first time in Philadelphia! The Dramatists Legal…

Monday Poets | Reginald Dwayne Betts and Daisy Fried

Mon, Oct 21, 6:30 P.M.

Reginald Dwayne Betts and Daisy Fried

Special Wednesday Poets at the Free Library in Montgomery Auditorium

Wed, Nov 13, 7:30 P.M.

U.S. Poet Laureate Joy Harjo

Monday Poets | Zach Savich, Poetry Students, and Alumni from University of the Arts

Mon, Dec 2, 6:30 P.M.

Zach Savich Poetry Students & Alumni from University of the Arts

View all events

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.