Parkway Central Library

Parkway Central Library is temporarily closed.

Tuesday, July 28 – Message from Staff

Book drop open 24/7

1901 Vine Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103
between 19th and 20th Streets on the Parkway
Learn about limited services at the Free Library.

Upcoming Events

Virtual Time Saving Tips for Social Media and Digital Marketing

Wed, August 5, 2020 10:00 A.M.

How do you market your business online in the time of COVID-19? And what should you be doing today to be in a better position when we are "open for business" again? It can be difficult…

Virtual Storytime with Miss Mary

Wed, August 5, 2020 10:30 A.M.

Join Miss Mary on Wednesdays at 10:30 am for a short stortime featuring two picture books! This will be presented on our Instagram Live (@freelibraryccd), which will be available after the…

Virtual Performance: Mario the Maker Magician

Wed, August 5, 2020 11:00 A.M.

Facebook Live show of original magic + handmade robotics + new school slapstick! It's magic through the lens of the Maker Movement, by a performer seen on Sesame Street, Sprout, and…

Virtual Storytime with Ms. Becky on Facebook Live

Wed, August 5, 2020 11:30 A.M.

Join Ms. Becky on Facebook Live every Wednesday in June at 11:30 a.m. for stories, songs, rhymes, music, movement, and lots of fun! These storytimes will have a…

Parkway Central Library Tours

Exterior of Parkway Central Library

Building Tours

  • Monday – Saturday at 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m.
  • 1st Sunday Tour at 2:00 p.m.

Rare Book Department Tours

  • Monday – Saturday at 11:00 a.m.

Explore the grand Beaux-Arts building which is an important part of Philadelphia's past and present with this specialized tour of the Parkway Central Library, which opened on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway in 1927. The free tour, which begins in the lobby, showcases Parkway Central's unique architecture and history, while covering the many collections and services that make the Free Library such a valuable and critical resource to Philadelphians. At the end of the tour, participants will be given the option to continue their experience by joining the free, daily tour of the Rare Book Department at 11:00 a.m., which explores the history of the book along with some of the Library's most rare holdings.

Group Tour Request



Parkway Central Library Welcomes You [A downloadable self-guided tour]

Designed by Julian Abele, a prominent African American architect from Philadelphia who worked in Horace Trumbauer’s firm, the Parkway Central Library first opened its doors on June 2, 1927. As an anchor cultural and educational institution on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, we welcome over 1 million visitors each year from the city, its countryside, and around the world. Our patrons come to learn from our public events, to consult our special collections, and to tap the expertise of our librarians and curators in each of the subject departments and special collections. On most days, volunteer docents offer architectural walks through the building.