Greater Olney Library

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

Closed Today

Sunday Closed
Monday 11:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.
Tuesday 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Wednesday 11:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.
Thursday 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Friday 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Saturday 11:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Upcoming Closures

  • Thu., Feb. 13 : Opening at 2:00 PM Due to staff development.
  • Mon., Feb. 17 : Closed Presidents' Day
  • Thu., Mar. 12 : Opening at 2:00 PM Due to staff development.
  • Thu., Apr. 9 : Opening at 2:00 PM Due to staff development.
  • Fri., Apr. 10 : Closed Good Friday
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

Children's BINGO

Wed, Feb 5, 4:30 P.M.

Come play BINGO at the Library afterschool! Prizes too! Program is for school age children, ages 7 and up.  This program is intended for…

LEGO Club

Sat, Feb 8, 11:30 A.M.

You bring your imagination; we supply the LEGOs. Program is for school age children, ages 7 and up. 

Teen Book Discussion: If I Ever Get Out of Here

Tue, Feb 11, 3:30 P.M.

Readers aged 10 to 14 are invited to join this free discussion of the 2020 One Book, One Philadelphia companion selection, If I Ever Get Out of…

Kids' Crafternoon

Wed, Feb 12, 4:30 P.M.

Make a seasonal craft This program is intended for children ages 7 and above and their caregivers. Day cares and other groups please call to…

Uno Tournament

Fri, Feb 14, 3:30 P.M.

Are you an Uno Master?  Show off your Uno skills with us on selected Fridays!  For children ages 7 and above. Groups, please call for a…

215 Drumming Community

Wed, Feb 19, 4:00 P.M.

“He’d have the whole world on a drum if he could" ( There There ). All ages are invited to learn or brush up on the basic…

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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.