Greater Olney Library

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

Open today 12:00 p.m. – 8:00 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 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Upcoming Closures

  • Mon., May. 29 : Closed Memorial Day
  • Thu., Jun. 8 : Closed staff development day
  • Tue., Jul. 4 : Closed Independence Day
  • Thu., Jul. 13 : Opening at 2:00 PM Due to staff development.
  • Thu., Aug. 10 : Opening at 2:00 PM Due to staff development.
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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)

Location

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Upcoming Events

BINGO for Kids

Wed, May 31, 4:00 P.M.

Play BINGO with us.  Of course there will be prizes!

LEGO Club

Fri, Jun 2, 3:00 P.M.

Come show your creative side by building with LEGOs.  We'll have the bricks, you bring your imagination.  For students ages 7 to 12…

Crafty Mondays

Mon, Jun 5, 4:00 P.M.

Come and show off your creative side! We'll provide the supplies, you bring your imagination.

Bone Detectives

Mon, Jun 19, 4:00 P.M.

What happens when a skeleton is discovered? How do scientists use bones to solve crimes? Students learn about the role of forensic anthropology in…

Face Painting

Tue, Jun 20, 3:30 P.M.

Join us as Jane Lashner of Fabulous Faces will be visiting the library for face painting. Come and have your face painted in the…

Wondrous Animal Life of Pennsylvania

Wed, Jun 21, 2:00 P.M.

Students will be amazed at the variety of wildlife that can be found right in their neighborhood.  See birds, mammals, and reptiles and then…

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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.