Philadelphia City Institute

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

Beginning on January 27, donations of gently used books, DVDs, music CDs, and audiobooks will be accepted on Fridays only from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. In addition, donations may be brought on Saturday March 18 from 10-12:30 and Saturday April 1 from 10-12:30.

Donations must be in like-new condition with recent publication dates. The Annual Book Sale will be held on Saturday April 29. Proceeds will benefit the Friends of PCI, a membership organization that provides supplementary financial support to the branch. The last day for donations will be April 21.

Open today 12:00 p.m. – 8:00 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., Apr. 14 : Closed Good Friday
  • Sun., Apr. 16 : Closed Easter
  • Thu., Apr. 20 : Opening at 2:00 PM Due to staff development.
  • Thu., May. 18 : Opening at 2:00 PM Due to staff development.
  • Mon., May. 29 : Closed Memorial Day
View all holiday closings

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)


Get Directions Public Transportation

Nearby Libraries

Support Philadelphia City Institute

Donate Now

Upcoming Events

Know Your Rights

Wed, Mar 29, 6:30 P.M.

Please join us for a discussion on Constitutional rights, including free speech, freedom of the press, and the right to protest, led by Bob…

Preschool Open House

Thu, Mar 30, 10:00 A.M.

Groups and families with children ages 3-5 are invited to bring your children to our Thursday morning Open Houses. Kids will get a chance to: Read…

Book Discussion Group/ The Mandibles: A Family, 2029-2047

Thu, Mar 30, 2:00 P.M.

Our book discussion group will meet on the last Thursday of every month, at 2:00 p.m. in the meeting room.  “With dry wit and…

Traveling Treasures

Thu, Mar 30, 4:00 P.M.

Traveling Treasures is a hands-on traveling special collection of artifacts from our Rare Books Department. Families with school-aged children are…

Baby Rhyming Time

Fri, Mar 31, 10:00 A.M.

Enjoy storytime with songs, tickles and bounces, followed by open play time for babies and time to talk with other adults!

Baby Rhyming Time

Fri, Mar 31, 11:00 A.M.

Enjoy storytime with songs, tickles and bounces, followed by open play time for babies and time to talk with other adults!

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.

Featured Programs & Services

Public Transportation

Bus Routes: 9, 12, 17, 21,42,
Commuter Trains: Suburban Station is 6 blocks north of PCI.