Literature Department

1901 Vine Street, Room 207
Philadelphia, PA 19103
Open today until 5:00 p.m.
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

  • Sun., Dec. 25 : Closed Christmas Day
  • Mon., Dec. 26 : Closed Christmas Day (Observed)
  • Sun., Jan. 1 : Closed New Year's Day
  • Mon., Jan. 2 : Closed New Year's Day (Observed)
View all holiday closings

Upcoming Events

Virtual Monday Poets: Airea D. Matthews and Phillip B. Williams

Mon, December 19, 2022 6:30 P.M.

Join us for an evening of beautiful poetry by poets Airea D. Matthews (Philadelphia Poet Laureate) and Phillip B. Williams. This virtual event is free. Please register starting 11/22/22 at …

Public Typewriter

Now through Sat, December 31, 2022 5:00 P.M.

Stop by Art & Literature on Parkway Central Library's second floor any time we are open to use a 1950s Royal typewriter, courtesy of Philly Typewriter's Philadelphia Public…

Typewriter Cause & Effect

Wed, January 18, 2023 5:30 P.M.

Join the Literature Department and Philly Typewriter for this 8-part typewriter series. Bryan Kravitz will discuss the national and global reaction to the typewriter through resistance and…

The Typewriter in the Workplace

Wed, February 15, 2023 5:30 P.M.

Join the Literature Department and Philly Typewriter for this 8-part typewriter series. Bryan Kravitz will share applications of the typewriter and how the machine changed industries for women,…


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

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.