Greater Olney Library

By Appointment services available - call to schedule

Tuesday, September 15 – Message from Staff

Scholar Meal Pickup on Tuesdays from 12 to 2 pm.

Materials pickup at Olney Library by appointment only on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Telephone reference available Tuesday and Thursday from 10 am to 4 pm.

Return items in the dropbox 24/7.


5501 North 5th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19120-2805
5th St. and Tabor Rd.

Upcoming Closures

  • Wed., Nov. 11 : Closed Veterans Day
  • Thu., Nov. 26 : Closed Thanksgiving Day
  • Fri., Dec. 25 : Closed Christmas Day
View all holiday closings

Upcoming Events

Fun Fact Mondays-Virtual

Mon, October 26, 2020 3:30 P.M.

Learn some fun facts on a particular topic by checking out our Facebook or Instagram page! 

Scholar Meal Distribution

Tue, October 27, 2020 12:00 P.M.

Scholar Meal Distribution -- Tuesdays until December 15th, 12 pm   Students under the age of 18 years old can visit Tuesdays between 12 to 2 pm (or until we run out) to receive a five-day…

Virtual- Kids' Crafternoon

Tue, October 27, 2020 3:30 P.M.

Check out our Facebook or Instagram page to see a craft that you can do at home! Most crafts require materials you may already have at home! 

Virtual-Wednesday Tongue Twister

Wed, October 28, 2020 3:30 P.M.

Log onto our Facebook or Instagram account to see our weekly tongue twister challenge.  Can you say the phrase three times fast??


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


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.