Greater Olney Library

5501 North 5th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19120-2805
5th St. and Tabor Rd.
Open today 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Sunday, 8/14 Closed
Monday, 8/15 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Tuesday, 8/16 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Wednesday, 8/17 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
11:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. *
Thursday, 8/18 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Friday, 8/19 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Saturday, 8/20 Closed
  • * Wednesday had hour changes – Due to staff shortage.
Sunday Closed
Monday 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Tuesday 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Wednesday 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Thursday 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Friday 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Saturday Closed

Upcoming Closures

  • Mon., Sep. 5 : Closed Labor Day
  • Thu., Sep. 8 : Opening at 2:00 PM due to staff development
  • Mon., Oct. 10 : Closed Indigenous People Day
  • Thu., Oct. 13 : Opening at 2:00 PM due to staff development
View all holiday closings

Upcoming Events

Crafty Tuesdays

Tue, August 23, 2022 3:00 P.M.

Kids will create their own masterpiece each week!  For children ages 7-12.   Cannot accommodate camp groups.

Nutrition with Einstein's A Better Start F.U.N. and Stop the Bleed

Wed, August 24, 2022 12:00 P.M.

  Nutrition Class with Einstein's A Better Start F.U.N. Wednesday, 8.24.2022 @ 12 pm Join us for our free nutrition class in collaboration with Jefferson/Einstein's F.U.N. program and…

Teen Thursdays

Thu, August 25, 2022 3:00 P.M.

Join us on Teen Thursdays for a different activity each week.  We’ll play our favorite games, cook our favorite meals, create arts and crafts projects, and more! Cannot accommodate camp…

Teen Thursdays

Thu, September 1, 2022 4:00 P.M.

Join us on Teen Thursdays for a different activity each week.  We’ll play our favorite games, cook our favorite meals, create arts and crafts projects, and more! High School Community…

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.