Joseph E. Coleman Northwest Regional Library

Services and hours are subject to change — please call in advance. Before you visit, please review our new COVID-19 guidelines.

Thursday, July 15 – 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.  We ask that visitors stay six feet apart from staff and other visitors and limit their visit to one hour.  

Coleman Regional Library will be open for limited in-person services Monday - Friday from 1:00PM tp 4:30PM.  Visitors may browse, checkout, and pick-up holds. 

Our computers will be available, on a limited basis, for any card holder.  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.  

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.
Open today 1:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.
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., Sep. 6 : Closed Labor Day
  • Mon., Oct. 11 : Closed Indigenous Peoples' Day
  • Thu., Nov. 11 : Closed Veterans Day
  • Thu., Nov. 25 : Closed Thanksgiving 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

Outdoor Storytime

Thu, August 5, 2021 10:30 A.M.

Join your children's librarians for outdoor storytime in Vernon Park.  We'll read, sing, dance and play... just like old times! This program is best for ages 3 - 6, and older and younger siblings are welcome to join the fun! Children can also sign up for summer reading, or…

Outdoor Doggy Storytime

Thu, August 12, 2021 10:30 A.M.

Join your children's librarians for outdoor doggy storytime in Vernon Park. We’ll enjoy stories with special guest, Della, the greyhound. This program is best for ages 3 - 6, and older and younger siblings are welcome to join the fun! Bring a chair or blanket to sit on, and…


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.