Philadelphia City Institute

1905 Locust Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103-5730
19th & Locust on W. Rittenhouse Square
Open today until 5:00 p.m.
Sunday Closed
Monday 11:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.
Tuesday 11:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.
Wednesday 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Thursday 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Friday 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Saturday Closed

Upcoming Closures

  • Mon., Dec. 25 : Closed Christmas Day
View all holiday closings


  • Bicycle rack
  • Book drop box
  • Computers for public use
  • Printing (black/white)
  • Public restrooms
  • Street parking
  • Wireless internet access (wi/fi)
  • Scanner

Upcoming Events

Movie Matinee

Wed, November 29, 2023 2:00 P.M.

Join us for a screening of a newly released film in our downstairs meeting room every Wednesday afternoon. Please contact the library for movie titles (215-685-6621).  

Palestinian Poetry Celebration for Children

Wed, November 29, 2023 4:00 P.M.

Children and teens are invited to join us as we celebrate the poetry of Palestinian American poet Naomi Shihab Nye, in recognition of the United Nations’ annual observance, International Day…

PreK Storytime

Fri, December 1, 2023 10:15 A.M.

Join us for PreK Storytime in the Children's Room of the library. This program is free and geared toward children age 2-6. Storytime will be at 10:15 am, and the Children's Room will be…

PA CareerLinkĀ® Job Search Assistance

Fri, December 1, 2023 2:00 P.M.

PA CareerLink® Job Search Assistance Meet with a Community Workforce Connector from 2:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. for one-on-one job search assistance. Get individualized support with…


Located on the first floor and lower level of a high-rise apartment building on the west side 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 since 1855. The Philadelphia City Institute Library (PCI) has had three locations first, in 1855, on the northeast corner of 18th and Chestnut Streets. It moved to 218 S 19th St in 1923. In 1956 it moved to the current location at 1905 Locust Street, facing Rittenhouse Square. This independent library joined the city wide Free Library of Philadelphia system in 1944.  Today, the PCI Library continues to function 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.”