Philadelphia City Institute

1905 Locust Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103-5730
19th & Locust on W. Rittenhouse Square
Open today 11:00 a.m. – 7:00 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., Sep. 2 : Closed Labor Day
  • Thu., Sep. 12 : Opening at 1:00 PM due to staff development
  • Mon., Oct. 14 : Closed Indigenous Peoples' Day
  • Mon., Nov. 11 : Closed Veterans Day
View all holiday closings

Facilities

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

Upcoming Events

Toddler Storytime

Tue, July 23, 2024 11:15 A.M.

Join library staff on Tuesdays for Toddler Storytime in Rittenhouse Square. Meet us at the goat statue for songs, stories, and rhymes, and follow up with a special toddler playtime!  …

Opera in a Trunk

Tue, July 23, 2024 5:00 P.M.

Costumes, props, and songs, OH MY! School-aged students work with a Teaching Artist to create a short opera scene that explores the different parts of an opera! Presented by Opera Philadelphia.

Movie Matinee

Wed, July 24, 2024 2:00 P.M.

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

Queer Comics Club

Wed, July 24, 2024 4:00 P.M.

Join us for a biweekly book club for young adults aged 14-24 where we'll explore and discuss graphic novels and manga that center queer stories and voices.   

About

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.

History

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.”