Joseph E. Coleman Northwest Regional Library

Tuesday, January 19 – Message from Staff


The health and safety of our staff and customers is our utmost priority.  In the interest of limiting the impact and spread of COVID-19, all Free Library locations offer limited hours and services.


As of January 19, Coleman Regional Library will be open for limited in person services.  Our computers will be available, on a limited basis, for any card holder from 1:00PM tp 4:30PM.  We will be practicing physical distancing, which will both limit the number of people that will be able to use the computers and the length of turns.  At this time, we will not be able to offer one-on-one computer help, or browsing of the collection.  


The Coleman Northwest Regional Library also offers contactless materials pickup by appointment.  Please call 215-685-2151 to request material and schedule a pick-up appointment.  


Our Book Drop is open 24/7.


And, staff are available to answer reference questions by phone.  You can reach the Children's department staff directly at 215-685-2152, and the Adult department at 215-685-2153. 


You can also catch up with us on Facebook at Joseph E. Coleman Northwest Regional Library and Joseph E. Coleman Northwest Regional Library Children's Department.  


You can reach Peter Lehu, the branch manager, by email at  

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

  • Mon., May. 31 : Closed Memorial Day
  • Sat., Jun. 19 : Closed Juneteenth
  • Sun., Jul. 4 : Closed Independence Day
  • Mon., Jul. 5 : Closed Independence Day (Observed)
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

Love Your Mom, Love Your Library! Book and Plant Sale

Sat, May 1, 2021 11:00 A.M.

The Friends of Joseph E. Coleman Library will be holding a plant and book sale, just in time for Mother's Day.  All proceeds will  benefit the library.  Are you interested in becoming involved in the organization?  Talk to us about ways of joining the Friends. This…


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.