Falls of Schuylkill Library

3501 Midvale Avenue
Philadelphia, PA 19129-1633
(Warden Dr. & Midvale Ave.)
215-685-2093

Open today 12:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.

Sunday Closed
Monday 12:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
Tuesday 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Wednesday 12:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
Thursday 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Friday 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Saturday Closed

Upcoming Closures

  • Thu., Feb. 8 : Opening at 2:00 PM Due to staff development.
  • Thu., Mar. 8 : Opening at 2:00 PM Due to staff development.
  • Thu., Apr. 12 : Opening at 2:00 PM Due to staff development.
View all holiday closings

Photo of Falls of Schuylkill Library

Facilities

  • Baby changing station
  • Book drop box
  • Computers for public use
  • Electrical outlets available
  • Meeting space (reservation required)
  • Photocopier (black/white)
  • Printing (black/white)
  • Public restrooms
  • Street parking (free)
  • Water fountain
  • Wireless internet access (wi/fi)
  • Handicapped accessible
  • Street parking (metered)

Location

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Upcoming Events

Read With A Dog!

Mon, Jan 22, 4:30 P.M.

School age kids are invited to come read with Orchid, a certified therapy dog, and share a new book or an old favorite in a…

New Topics in Contemporary Physics

Mon, Jan 22, 6:30 P.M.

Presented by the Wagner Institute and Professor Paul J. Angiolillo - This course will explore the latest developments in physics, including…

Storytime with Miss Meredith

Thu, Jan 25, 11:00 A.M.

Join us for stories, rhymes, songs and fun, for children ages 2 to 6 years old, along with an adult.  Siblings are always welcome.…

Read With A Dog!

Mon, Jan 29, 4:30 P.M.

School age kids are invited to come read with Orchid, a certified therapy dog, and share a new book or an old favorite in a…

New Topics in Contemporary Physics

Mon, Jan 29, 6:30 P.M.

Presented by the Wagner Institute and Professor Paul J. Angiolillo - This course will explore the latest developments in physics, including…

Philly Then and Now

Wed, Jan 31, 3:30 P.M.

What did Philadelphia look like in your parent’s generation? What about their parents? And how has the city changed? Explore Philadelphia…

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About

Located at the intersection of Midvale Avenue, Warden Drive, and Conrad Street, the Falls of Schuylkill Branch has a lovely garden tended by volunteers. The branch serves the community of East Falls with a variety of programs for all ages.

History

Industrial activity marked the early history of the Schuylkill River and nearby waterways. Even before the fishery of Fort St. Davids was established by Welshmen at the Falls of the Schuylkill in 1734, other settlers were building mills along the Wissahickon and the Falls Creeks.

Don't bother trying to find the Schuylkill Falls themselves, however. The Fairmount Dam, constructed in 1822, raised the river's water level and obliterated the rapids. The area near the present library was a brewery from 1873 to 1894. After it fell into disrepair, the springs turned it into a swimming hole.

The first library in East Falls opened on June 1, 1901 as a Deposit Station on the second floor of the Old Academy, the first community center in Philadelphia. It was built in 1819 as a place of education and worship. Since 1932, the building has been used as a theater, and was the scene of Grace Kelly's acting debut.

Featuring English Collegiate architecture, the current library opened on November 18, 1913. The building was funded by Andrew Carnegie, and the land was donated by William H. Merrick and the Warden Estate. The library was renovated in 1997 as part of the "Changing Lives" campaign, which refurbished branches and ensured Internet access.

Atop the library, you'll see a catfish weathervane on the cupola. The preschool center also features a catfish. They are symbols of the thousands of catfish that thronged the Schuylkill River two centuries ago, when East Falls was known as Fort St. Davids. One fisherman in the 1830's caught 3,000 in one night with his dip net. Catfish and waffles were a popular meal in the inns and taverns that surrounded the river.

While you visit, take a look at the beautiful garden outside the library. It has been maintained by a dedicated group of volunteers since the late 1980's.