Philadelphia City Institute

1905 Locust Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103-5730
(19th & Locust on W. Rittenhouse Square)

Open today 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.

Sunday Closed
Monday 12:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
Tuesday 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 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.
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Photo of Philadelphia City Institute


  • Baby changing station
  • Bicycle rack
  • Book drop box
  • Children's only restroom
  • Computers for public use
  • Meeting space (reservation required)
  • Photocopier (black/white)
  • Printing (black/white)
  • Public restrooms
  • Street parking
  • Water fountain
  • Wireless internet access (wi/fi)
  • Scanner


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Upcoming Events

Author Talk: David Brownlee

Wed, Mar 21, 6:30 P.M.

New Tales from the Parkway in sync with the celebration of the centennial of the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, David Brownlee has prepared a new…

English Conversation Group

Mon, Mar 26, 5:45 P.M.

Please join us for a free conversation hour as you build your confidence in speaking English. Topics may involve small talk, holidays and customs,…

Meet a Tuskegee Airman

Tue, Mar 27, 2:00 P.M.

You are probably aware of the Tuskegee airmen, who managed to break the barrier against black pilots in meet and hear Eugene Richardson,…

Film Screening | Away from Her

Wed, Mar 28, 5:30 P.M.

In honor of Women's History Month, please join us for a free screening of Away from Her, a film by acclaimed director Sarah Polley. This…

Book Discussion Group

Thu, Mar 29, 2:00 P.M.

Please join our book discussion group for Adults at the Philadelphia City Institute.  We meet on the last Thursday of every month, at 2:00…

English Conversation Group

Mon, Apr 2, 5:45 P.M.

Please join us for a free conversation hour as you build your confidence in speaking English. Topics may involve small talk, holidays and customs,…

View all events


Located on the first floor and lower level of a high-rise apartment building on the northwest corner of Rittenhouse Square, PCI serves the communities of Rittenhouse Square, Fitler Square, and people who live and work in Center City west of Broad Street.


The Philadelphia City Institute Board of Managers is a non-profit organization that has supported a free library in Center City, Philadelphia for 163 years. The Philadelphia City Institute Library (PCI) has had three locations: first, in 1855, on the northeast corner of 18th and Chestnut Streets; since 1956, at 1905 Locust Street, facing Rittenhouse Square. Today, the PCI Library functions as a branch of the Free Library of Philadelphia. The PCI Managers maintain ownership of the premises and the assets; with endowment income, they also provide operational support and funding for augmented staff, new materials, and equipment.

The PCI Board of Managers’ object was “the promotion of the moral and intellectual improvement of young persons by means of a Library and Reading Room, Lectures and class instruction, and such other measures as the Board of Managers may adopt.” Weekly lectures by prominent Philadelphians and free night schools were important activities of PCI in its early years. Initially these were reserved for young men, but PCI soon decided to “extend the advantages of the Institute to females.”

A mural by noted Philadelphia artist David McShane greets visitors to the library. Commissioned by the Friends of PCI in 2000, the mural reflects the history and mission of the branch and the diversity of the community it serves.