Independence Library

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

Author Natalie and Photographer Tricia Pompilio Discuss Their Book, Walking Philadelphia, Wed, May 30, 2018 6:15 P.M.

Author Natalie and photographer Tricia Pompilio will discuss their guide book, Walking Philadelphia:  30 Walking Tours Exploring Art, Architecture, History and Little-Known Gems.  Walking Philadelphia, is the only guide to the city that will make you feel like you’re being led by your smartest, closest, funniest friend. This book contains 30 self-guided tours, each jammed with fun facts, history lessons and little-known details. Each of the walking tours includes a lively overview of the route, highlighted points of interest, a full-color map, and professional photography. Natalie takes you behind the scenes and shares stories and tidbits that you will later rush to tell others. It is suitable for a visitor or a local, as the authors believe even the most knowledgeable resident will learn something new on each walk. Sisters Natalie and Tricia were raised in Central Jersey and now live near each other in Queen Village.  They are big Philly fans and this book is like a love story to the city. Admission to the presentation is free. Weather permitting, Natalie will lead a brief mini-tour of the Independence District starting at the Library at 5:30pm.  This program is sponsored by the Friends of the Independence Library.  About the authors: Natalie Pompilio is an award-winning writer and editor based in Philadelphia. Formerly a staff reporter for The Philadelphia Inquirer, the Philadelphia Daily News, and The (New Orleans) Times-Picayune, Natalie still contributes to those publications as well as to The (Newark) Star-Ledger, the Associated Press, The Washington Post and Thomson Reuters. In 2011, she shared a Clarion Award from Women in Communications for a story with Daily News writers Molly Eichel and Becky Batcha for their piece documenting 24 hours at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.  Natalie has authored or co-authored three books:  More Philadelphia Murals and the Stories They Tell (Temple University Press, 2006) written with Jane Golden and Robin Wright. Walking Philadelphia (Wilderness Press, 2017)  Philadelphia A to Z (Self-published children’s alphabet book).

CHINATOWN CALLIGRAPHY PRACTICE CLUB: Chinese Brush Calligraphy  Friday 6/1/2018  3:00 to 4:30 pm   A free drop-in session for adults, teens, children accompanied by adult, for those with Chinese handwriting skills. Special guest teacher Mr. Peng will be with us to critique your work. Bring in your finished practice works for a brief one on one critique with Mr. Peng who speaks Mandarin Chinese. 

During the summer, pen calligraphy workshops will be offered for those learning who want to learn the basics of writing Chinese characters.  There is usually no teacher. You may practice whatever style and progress at your own pace among friends and other students of calligraphy.


欢迎大家一起来练习, 交流书法, 每星期五隔周。没有老师的。


在费城图书馆: 南七街18号.   18 South 7 Street (215)685-1633

6 月 1日,星期 五,下午 3;00-4:30 毛笔书法

         那天,欢迎 彭老师 来复习我们的书法作品。


Open today 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 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. 28 : Closed Memorial Day
  • Thu., Jun. 21 : Opening at 2:00 PM Due to staff development.
  • Wed., Jul. 4 : Closed Independence Day
  • Thu., Jul. 19 : Opening at 2:00 PM Due to staff development.
  • Thu., Aug. 16 : Opening at 2:00 PM Due to staff development.
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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 Storytimes

Tue, May 29, 10:30 A.M.

Miss Margaret for stories (new and classic), cheery songs, and an adorable “make and take” craft activity!  Register your…

Let’s Speak English! | For International Adults

Wed, May 30, 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…

Author Natalie and Photographer Tricia Pompilio Discuss Their Book, Walking Philadelphia

Wed, May 30, 6:15 P.M.

Author Natalie and photographer Tricia Pompilio will discuss their guide book, Walking Philadelphia:  30 Walking Tours Exploring Art,…

First Friday Genealogy

Fri, Jun 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…

Chinatown Calligraphy Club: Chinese Brush Calligraphy

Fri, Jun 1, 3:00 P.M.

A free drop-in session for adults, teens, children accompanied by adult, for those with Chinese handwriting skills.  Special guest teacher…

Good Fiction Book Group

Mon, Jun 4, 6:00 P.M.

Join us the last Monday of the month from 6:00 to 7:00 p.m. We read critically acclaimed fiction, old and new.  No stress. No tests. Just…

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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.