Greater Olney Library

5501 North 5th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19120-2805
(5th St. and Tabor Rd.)
215-685-2846

The Free Library's Summer Hours begin this week.  We are now open Monday through Friday. Fall hours begin September 22.

Closed Today

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

  • Wed., Jul. 4 : Closed Independence Day
  • Thu., Jul. 12 : Opening at 2:00 PM Due to staff development.
  • Thu., Aug. 9 : Opening at 2:00 PM Due to staff development.
  • Mon., Sep. 3 : Closed Labor Day
  • Thu., Sep. 13 : Opening at 2:00 PM Due to staff development.
View all holiday closings

Photo of Greater Olney Library

Facilities

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

Nearby Libraries

Support Greater Olney Library

Donate Now

Upcoming Events

Dance!

Tue, Jun 26, 3:30 P.M.

Learn some great dance steps with Merge Dance Studio at the library right before summer reading!    

Scales, Feathers, and Fur

Wed, Jun 27, 2:00 P.M.

Learn which adaptations make birds, mammals, and reptiles different. Students learn about classification and how animals use their unique…

Summer of Wonder Activity

Thu, Jul 5, 3:00 P.M.

Join us for a fun activity!  Groups cannot be accommodated.  

Crafty Tuesdays

Tue, Jul 10, 3:00 P.M.

Show us your artsy side by completing an awesome art project!  Groups cannot be accommodated.

Movie Wednesday: Coco

Wed, Jul 11, 2:00 P.M.

Join us for a blockbuster!  Camps must call to register to ensure space.

Teen Financial Literacy Presented by BB&T Bank

Tue, Jul 17, 3:00 P.M.

Learn about spending and saving money.  Presented by BB&T Bank! 

View all events

About

Located in the 5th street shopping district, one block south of Olney Avenue. We serve the diverse Olney community with materials in many languages.

History

The Olney community derives its name from the home of Alexander Wilson, which stood from 1840 to 1924 east of Rising Sun Avenue overlooking Tacony Creek. Wilson chose the name "Olney" for his home because he admired the poet Cowper of Olney, England, composer of the famous Olney Hymns of the Methodist Church.

City maps of 1847 show the town of Olney consisting of three main roads and a community of farms. The main highways were the Kensington-Oxford Turnpike (now Rising Sun Avenue), Olney Road (now Tabor Road) and Clinton Street (now Mascher Street). The modern name for Tabor Road comes from the Tabor rail station, opened in 1873 to serve the Jewish Hospital.

The idea of public libraries in Olney began before 1860. A free library existed as a one-story stone building built circa 1858 at what is now Lima and B Street. The building was never quite completed and was abandoned after a few years of decay.

In 1876, another free library was established a short distance above what is now 5318 Rising Sun Avenue. It was used by residents of Unionville, Crescentville, Cedar Grove and Olney. (This might be the source for the Greater portion of the Greater Olney name.) That library survived for about 25 years.

The Kiwanis Club and the Olney Community Council began working together in 1945 to develop a branch library. These efforts came to fruition when the Greater Olney Branch opened in the former Olney Bank and Trust Company building on October 1949 at 5th Street and Tabor Road. The library was renovated in 1997 as part of the Free Library's "Changing Lives" campaign.