Independence Library

18 S. 7th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19106
(7th Street between Market & Chestnut)

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 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Upcoming Closures

  • Fri., Nov. 11: Closed Veterans Day
  • Thu., Nov. 17: Opening at 2:00 PM Due to staff development.
  • Thu., Nov. 24: Closed Thanksgiving Day
  • Thu., Dec. 15: Opening at 2:00 PM Due to staff development.
  • Sun., Dec. 25: Closed Christmas Day
View all holiday closings

Photo of Independence Library


  • Bicycle rack
  • Book drop box
  • Computers for public use
  • Handicapped accessible
  • Meeting space (reservation required)
  • Photocopier (black/white)
  • Printing (black/white)
  • Public restrooms
  • Screen-reading software (JAWS)
  • Self-service checkout
  • Street parking (metered)
  • Water fountain
  • Wireless internet access (wi/fi)


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Upcoming Events

TODDLER STORY TIMES with Miss Margaret

Tue, Oct 25, 10:30 P.M.

For children ages 1 to 4 yrs. with parent/caretaker. Celebrate the change of seasons and multicultural holidays!


Wed, Oct 26, 4:00 P.M.

Scary Students (1st thru 8th grade) are invited to a horribly fun TWEEN HALLOWEEN PARTy!  Join us for terribly tasty treats and horrific games!

Let’s Speak English! for International Adults

Wed, Oct 26, 5:00 P.M.

• Weekly conversation hour. • Build your confidence speaking English. • Topics may involve small talk, holidays and customs, common slang. •…

American Citizenship Test Prep

Thu, Oct 27, 12:00 P.M.

Question and Answer American Citizenship Test review taught in small groups by volunteers.  Thursdays from 12:00 to 2:00 p.m. Free. No…

October Book Group Discussion: The Children Act by Ian McEwan

Mon, Oct 31, 6:00 P.M.

The Good Fiction Book Group meets monthly to discuss critically acclaimed fiction, old and new. Join us as we discuss   Ian McEwan’s…

Let’s share new picture books and classic stories...

Tue, Nov 1, 10:30 A.M.

Let’s share new picture books and classic stories, cheery sing-alongs, movement activities, and adorable “make and take” crafts!…

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Named for its proximity to Independence National Park, this branch serves people who live in Society Hill, Old City, Queen Village, Washington Square West, and Chinatown. Independence Branch also houses the Barbara Gittings Gay/Lesbian Collection.


For almost thirty years, residents of the eastern part of Center City had been asking for a branch. In 1997, the East Philadelphia Coalition for a Free Library Branch was formed. The coalition's carefully planned and well-presented case enabled the library to successfully persuade City Council to fund a new branch library serving residents in Society Hill, Old City, Chinatown, Washington Square West, and Queen Village.

Space for the new branch was found in what was then the Balch Institute for Ethnic Studies. Architect Ignatius Wang led the renovation of the former exhibit space into a library. Meanwhile, representatives from the communities served on a fundraising committee to raise money to build the library collection. The names of the major donors are currently listed on a Chinese moon gate at the library.

Independence Branch opened on February, 28, 2001. The library serves as a community center for Chinatown and the other nearby neighborhoods. The name "Independence" recognizes the proximity to Independence National Historic Park.

The children's area features a mural of changing seasons by Jing-Xiang Liang, and also a multicolored carpet, which is a tribute to the architect's favorite children's book, Elmer the Multicultural Elephant.

Facts about the neighborhoods served by Independence Branch:

  • Society Hill is the southern portion of the original settlement by the Free Society of Traders in 1681.
  • Old City was the city's first commercial district. The area includes Elfreth's Alley, the oldest continuous residential street in America.
  • Chinatown's first residents arrived in the mid-1840's, and the first business was established in 1850. Today's Chinatown is the cultural and commercial hub for Asian-Americans in Philadelphia.
  • Washington Square is one of the original squares laid out by William Penn. The Unknown Soldier from the Revolutionary War is buried there.
  • Originally named Southwark, Queen Village was the city's first neighborhood, taking its name from an area of London, and replacing the Swedes' community of Wicaco. The name "Queen Village" dates from the late 1960's.

Featured Programs & Services

Public Transportation

SEPTA routes 1, 9, 12, 17, 21, 23, 33, 42, 47, 48, 57, Market Frankford Line, Broad-Ridge Spur (yellow line), PATCO, Regional Rail lines (Jefferson Station)