Literature Department

1901 Vine Street, Room 207
Philadelphia, PA 19103
Closed Today
Sunday, 1/16 Closed
Monday, 1/17 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Tuesday, 1/18 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Wednesday, 1/19 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Thursday, 1/20 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Friday, 1/21 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Saturday, 1/22 Closed
  • * Monday has hour changes – Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
Sunday Closed
Monday 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Tuesday 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Wednesday 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Thursday 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Friday 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Saturday Closed

Upcoming Closures

  • Mon., Feb. 21 : Closed Presidents' Day
  • Fri., Apr. 15 : Closed Good Friday
  • Sun., Apr. 17 : Closed Easter
  • Mon., May. 30 : Closed Memorial Day
View all holiday closings

Upcoming Events

Monday Poets: Marianne Dages & Erica Mena

Mon, February 28, 2022 6:30 P.M.

Season 28 of Monday Poets, one of the longest continually running programs at the Free Library. Marianne Dages is a Philadelphia based artist investigating the crossroads between image, language,…

Monday Poets: Elaine Terranova & Chris Kondrich

Mon, March 21, 2022 6:30 P.M.

Season 28 of Monday Poets, one of the longest continually running programs at the Free Library. Elaine Terranova  is author of the memoir The Diamond Cutter’s Daughter. Elaine grew…

Monday Poets: Troy Jollimore & Nava EtShalom

Mon, April 18, 2022 6:30 P.M.

Season 28 of Monday Poets, one of the longest continually running programs at the Free Library.

Monday Poets: Sandra Evans Falconer & Ditta Baron Hoeber

Mon, June 27, 2022 6:30 P.M.

Sandra Evans Falconer  is a writer, poet, performer and author of four collections of poetry, a muscial song cycle, a stage play and an original adaptation. For the past 25 years, Sandra has…


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.

An up-to-date list of our current periodical holdings:

Please see our booklists for reading suggestions, here:

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.

Research Resources

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


Educators!  We are here for you!

Are you an educator interested in bringing a class to the Literature Department? You may contact us in advance by emailing 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.