Joseph E. Coleman Northwest Regional Library

68 West Chelten Avenue
Philadelphia, PA 19144-2795
Greene St. & Chelten Ave.
Open today until 5:00 p.m.
Sunday, 9/17 Closed
Monday, 9/18 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
12:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. *
Tuesday, 9/19 11:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.
11:15 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. *
Wednesday, 9/20 11:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.
Thursday, 9/21 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
2:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. *
Friday, 9/22 11:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Saturday, 9/23 Closed
  • * Monday had hour changes – Due to staff shortage. Materials pick up services offered 10 a.m. - 12 p.m. today.
  • * Tuesday had hour changes – Due to staff shortage. Materials pick up services offered 2 - 7 p.m. today.
  • * Thursday had hour changes – Due to staff development.
Sunday Closed
Monday 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Tuesday 11:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.
Wednesday 11:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.
Thursday 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Friday 11:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Saturday Closed

Upcoming Closures

  • Mon., Oct. 9 : Closed Indigenous Peoples' Day
  • Thu., Oct. 19 : Opening at 2:00 PM due to staff development
  • Sat., Nov. 11 : Closed Veterans Day
  • Thu., Nov. 16 : Opening at 2:00 PM due to staff development
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

Preschool Storytime

Fri, September 22, 2023 11:00 A.M.

Join us for stories, songs, rhymes and more!  For children ages 2 to 5, along with an adult caregiver.  Siblings are always welcome. Daycares and other groups should call the library to…

Read, Baby, Read: Baby and Toddler Storytime

Tue, September 26, 2023 11:00 A.M.

Join us for stories, songs, rhymes, and bounces that will help your young child develop important pre-literary skills while you bond and have fun together! This program is intended for our friends…

Bridging Blocks: Grappling with America's Guns

Wed, September 27, 2023 5:00 P.M.

Legal gun owners say that proposed legislation meant to grapple with gun violence burdens them rather than criminals; politicians argue that background checks adn limiting magazine capacity will…

English Language Conversation Group

Thu, September 28, 2023 3:00 P.M.

Do you want to practice speaking English? We will be hosting a weekly conversation table for English Language learners.  This will be an informal, all-levels learning group.  We'll…


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.