Greater Olney Library

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

Open today 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 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., Nov. 8 : Opening at 2:00 PM Due to staff development.
  • Sun., Nov. 11 : Closed Veterans Day
  • Mon., Nov. 12 : Closed Veterans Day (Observed)
  • Thu., Nov. 22 : Closed Thanksgiving Day
  • Thu., Dec. 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)

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Upcoming Events

Preschool Storytime

Tue, Oct 16, 10:15 A.M.

Join us on Tuesdays for themed read-alouds and interactive fingerplays, songs, and more!  For kids ages 2 to 5, along with an adult…

Bop and Cha-Cha

Wed, Oct 17, 6:30 P.M.

Every Wednesday at 6:30! Join us for a fun time! Learn how to Bop and Cha-Cha, or show off your moves. No experience necessary.

Preschool Storytime

Tue, Oct 23, 10:15 A.M.

Join us on Tuesdays for themed read-alouds and interactive fingerplays, songs, and more!  For kids ages 2 to 5, along with an adult…

Bop and Cha-Cha

Wed, Oct 24, 6:30 P.M.

Every Wednesday at 6:30! Join us for a fun time! Learn how to Bop and Cha-Cha, or show off your moves. No experience necessary.

Preschool Storytime

Tue, Oct 30, 10:15 A.M.

Join us on Tuesdays for themed read-alouds and interactive fingerplays, songs, and more!  For kids ages 2 to 5, along with an adult…

Bop and Cha-Cha

Wed, Oct 31, 6:30 P.M.

Every Wednesday at 6:30! Join us for a fun time! Learn how to Bop and Cha-Cha, or show off your moves. No experience necessary.

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.