Greater Olney Library

Services and hours are subject to change — please call in advance. Before you visit, please review our new COVID-19 guidelines.

5501 North 5th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19120-2805
5th St. and Tabor Rd.
Open today until 6:00 p.m.
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., Oct. 11 : Closed Indigenous Peoples' Day
  • Thu., Nov. 11 : Closed Veterans Day
  • Thu., Nov. 25 : Closed Thanksgiving Day
  • Fri., Dec. 24 : Closed Christmas Day (Observed)
View all holiday closings

Upcoming Events

Crafty Mondays

Mon, September 27, 2021 4:00 P.M.

Make a seasonal craft with us on the fourth Monday of the month at 4 pm!  For children ages 7+. Mask required. We cannot accommodate groups at this time.

CareerLinkĀ® Job Search Help

Tue, September 28, 2021 10:00 A.M.

Looking for a Job? Need to update your resume? Learn how to apply for jobs online Learn about resources PA CareerLink®  has to offer from 10:00 am - 12:00 pm. 

Uno Tournament

Tue, October 5, 2021 4:00 P.M.

Join us on the first Tuesday of the month to show off your Uno skills!  Everyone is a winner!  For ages 7+. Mask required. We cannot accommodate group at this time.

LEGO Club

Fri, October 15, 2021 3:30 P.M.

You bring your imagination; we supply the LEGOs. Program is for school age children, ages 7 and up.  Masks are required. We cannot accommodate groups at this time.

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.