Joseph E. Coleman Northwest Regional Library

By Appointment services available - call to schedule

Monday, October 19 – Message from Staff

Welcome Back! 

We are open for very limited in-person computer use, Mondays through Fridays from 1-4:00 pm.

We are available for "curbside" contactless materials pick up Mondays through Fridays, from 10 - noon & 1:30 - 4, by appointment.

Our drop box is open 24/7.

We are happy to have you back, but please understand library use is different right now.  Masks must be worn, physical distancing will be enforced, and you may be asked to wait outside until your computer turn, based on occupancy limits.  We are not able to offer in person programs and it is not possible to browse the collection at this time.  Thanks so much for your patience as we all figure out how to find our place during these strange times.

68 West Chelten Avenue
Philadelphia, PA 19144-2795
Greene St. & Chelten Ave.
Closed Today
Sunday Closed
Monday 1:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Tuesday 1:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Wednesday 1:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Thursday 1:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Friday 1:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Saturday Closed

Upcoming Closures

  • Wed., Nov. 11 : Closed Veterans Day
  • Thu., Nov. 26 : Closed Thanksgiving Day
  • Fri., Dec. 25 : Closed Christmas Day
View all holiday closings


  • Baby changing station
  • Bicycle rack
  • Book drop box
  • Change machine
  • Children's only restroom
  • Computer lab
  • Computers for public use
  • Electrical outlets available
  • Handicapped accessible
  • Meeting space (reservation required)
  • Photocopier (black/white)
  • Printing (black/white)
  • Public restrooms
  • Street parking (free)
  • Street parking (metered)
  • Water fountain
  • Wireless internet access (wi/fi)

Upcoming Events

Writers' Group

Fri, November 6, 2020 6:00 P.M.

November is National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo).  Share your writing with others, get feedback, and participate in writing exercises.  Get motivated to work on your projects and…

Film Club

Fri, November 6, 2020 6:00 P.M.

Are you a movie buff?  Want to watch and discuss movies  from the comfort of your own home? Join us as we watch and talk about films from the Free Library's streaming online…

Children's Meal Distribution

Tue, November 10, 2020 11:00 A.M.

We are offering a free, weekly meal distribution to school children, or families of school children, up to 18 years old.  Each child will receive a "5-Day Meal Kit" containing 5…

Children's Meal Distribution

Tue, November 17, 2020 11:00 A.M.

We are offering a free, weekly meal distribution to school children, or families of school children, up to 18 years old.  Each child will receive a "5-Day Meal Kit" containing 5…


Originally, the Germantown Branch Library, in 2002, the library was renamed in honor of Joseph E. Coleman, Philadelphia's first African-American City Council President. The library serves Northwest Philadelphia and features Regional Ricky, a life-size, reader-friendly dragon.


Germantown was founded in 1683, one year after William Penn founded Philadelphia. Many historic events occurred in Germantown, including the first public protest against slavery in English America (1688), and the Battle of Germantown (1777). Germantown Avenue, a block away from Coleman Northwest Regional Library, is an old Indian trail called Main Street by the first settlers.

In 1895, Germantown Branch Library opened in Vernon Hall at Chelten and Germantown Avenues. The library moved to Vernon House, known at the time as Wister Mansion, in 1898. Vernon House is currently located in the center of Vernon Park a half block north of Chelten Avenue between Germantown Avenue and Greene Street.

In 1907, a new Carnegie library building opened in Vernon Park. It served as the Germantown Branch Library until Tuesday, July 25, 1978, when the Northwest Regional Library officially opened to the public. Northwest was the third regional library in the Free Library system. In 1986, Center in the Park, an activity center for older adults, opened in the former Germantown Branch Library.

Northwest Regional Library was renovated in 1997 as part of the "Changing Lives" campaign, which brought Internet service to every library. In 2002, the Northwest Regional Library was renamed the Joseph E. Coleman Northwest Regional Library. Coleman served City Council for 20 years, and he was for 12 years (1980-1992) the first African-American president of Philadelphia City Council. As a member of City Council, Mr. Coleman worked for the development of the Northwest Regional Library and its location at the corner of Chelten Avenue and Greene Street.

The Dragon Sculpture by Stewart Paul was originally installed in the children's department, but has since been moved to the lobby, where it overlooks the amphitheatre and the children's department. The mural of medieval knights and a variety of animals was painted by Richard Watson.