Independence Library

18 S. 7th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19106
(7th Street between Market & Chestnut)
215-685-1633

Join us for a reading by poet Elaine Terranova on Monday November 20, at 6:00 p.m.  

Poet Elaine Terranova is author of six full-length poetry collections, most recently, Dollhouse, which won the 2013 Off the Grid Press Award, and two chapbooks. Her poems have appeared in The New Yorker, The American Poetry Review, Prairie Schooner, Virginia Quarterly Review, Ploughshares, Boulevard, Women’s Review of Books, Pleiades, and other magazines and in several anthologies, among them, A Gift of Tongues, Blood to Remember: American Poets write about the Holocaust, and Articulations: The Body and Illness in Poetry. Her translation of Euripides’ Iphigenia at Aulis was published by the University of Pennsylvania Press (1998). She won the Walt Whitman Award for her first book, The Cult of the Right Hand. Other awards include a Pew Fellowship in the Arts, a National Endowment in the Arts Fellowship in Literature, a Pushcart Prize, and two Pennsylvania Council on the Arts grants. She was a recipient of the Anna Davidson Rosenberg Award for a Poem on the Jewish Experience and has been Banister Writer in Residence at Sweet Briar College.

 

 

Open today until 8:00 p.m.

Sunday, 11/19 Closed
Monday, 11/20 12:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
Tuesday, 11/21 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Wednesday, 11/22 12:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.*
Thursday, 11/23 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Closed
Friday, 11/24 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Saturday, 11/25 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
  • * Wednesday has hour changes – preparation for the Thanksgiving Day holiday
  • * Thursday has hour changes – Thanksgiving Day
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

  • Wed., Nov. 22 : Open 10:00 AM – 3:00 PM preparation for the Thanksgiving Day holiday
  • Thu., Nov. 23 : Closed Thanksgiving Day
  • Thu., Dec. 21 : Opening at 2:00 PM Due to staff development.
  • Fri., Dec. 22 : Open 10:00 AM – 3:00 PM preparation for the Christmas Day holiday
  • Sat., Dec. 23 : Closed Christmas Day (Observed)
View all holiday closings

Photo of Independence Library

Facilities

  • 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)

Location

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Upcoming Events

Reading by Poet Elaine Terranova

Mon, Nov 20, 6:00 P.M.

Poet Elaine Terranova is author of six full-length poetry collections, most recently, Dollhouse, which won the 2013 Off the Grid Press Award, and…

Toddler Storytimes with Make and Take Crafts

Tue, Nov 21, 10:30 A.M.

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

Toddler Storytimes with Make and Take Crafts

Tue, Nov 28, 10:30 A.M.

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

ESL Class

Wed, Nov 29, 1:30 P.M.

Free weekly ESL class for English language learners every Wednesday from 1:30 to 3:00 p.m. All are welcome! Please email instructor Nad Rosenberg…

Let’s Speak English! | For International Adults

Wed, Nov 29, 5:00 P.M.

Join us for a weekly conversation hour and build your confidence in speaking English. Topics may include: small talk, holidays, customs, and…

First Friday Genealogy

Fri, Dec 1, 12:00 P.M.

Monthly brown bag discussion group with occasional speakers meets every first Friday  from 12:00 to 2 p.m.  Open to the public and…

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About

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.

History

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.