Joseph E. Coleman Northwest Regional Library

68 West Chelten Avenue
Philadelphia, PA 19144-2795
(Greene St. & Chelten Ave.)

Preschool Storytime at the Library!  

Fridays, at 10:30 a.m.

Join us for stories, songs, rhymes, and more! This program is best for children ages 3 to 5 along with an adult caregiver.  Siblings are always welcome.

Daycares and other groups should call the library to arrange their own special appointment.


Closed Today

Sunday, 3/18 1:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Monday, 3/19 Closed
Tuesday, 3/20 12:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
Wednesday, 3/21 12:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
Thursday, 3/22 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Friday, 3/23 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Saturday, 3/24 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
  • * Wednesday has hour changes – Due to inclement weather
Sunday 1:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Monday Closed
Tuesday 12:00 p.m. – 8:00 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

  • Fri., Mar. 30 : Closed Good Friday
  • Sun., Apr. 1 : Closed Easter
  • Wed., Apr. 18 : Closed Professional Development Staff Meeting
  • Thu., Apr. 19 : Opening at 2:00 PM Due to staff development.
  • Thu., May. 17 : Opening at 2:00 PM Due to staff development.
View all holiday closings

Photo of Joseph E. Coleman Northwest Regional Library


  • 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)


Get Directions

Nearby Libraries

Support Joseph E. Coleman Northwest Regional Library

Donate Now

Upcoming Events

Email Basics

Wed, Mar 21, 4:00 P.M.

Learn to use e-mail and set up your own free account.  It will be helpful if you have some basic computer or typing skills, but not required.

Microsoft Word Basics

Thu, Mar 22, 4:00 P.M.

This class is for beginner users to learn core aspects of this popular word processing program.  We'll introduce basic page setup,…

Resume Building Workshop

Fri, Mar 23, 3:00 P.M.

We can help you turn your job history information into a professional resume, or, help you improve your current one.  It will be helpful to…

Yoga Storytime

Sat, Mar 24, 11:00 A.M.

We'll integrate yoga, a story, songs and games in this program for children ages 4 - 6.  This approach will help children explore the art…

Basic Computer Skills Workshop

Tue, Mar 27, 4:00 P.M.

A hands-on, introductory class designed for individuals with no previous computer skills. It is helpful if you have some typing skills.  This…

Introduction to the Business Resource and Innovation Center (BRIC)

Tue, Mar 27, 6:00 P.M.

Join us for an introduction to resources available (for free) through the BRIC's homepage, databases, and the physical department at Parkway…

View all events


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.