Philadelphia City Institute

1905 Locust Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103-5730
(19th & Locust on W. Rittenhouse Square)
215-685-6621

Closed Today

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 Closed

Upcoming Closures

  • Thu., Aug. 17 : Opening at 2:00 PM Due to staff development.
  • Mon., Sep. 4 : Closed Labor Day
  • Thu., Sep. 21 : Opening at 2:00 PM Due to staff development.
  • Mon., Oct. 9 : Closed Columbus Day
  • Thu., Oct. 19 : Opening at 2:00 PM Due to staff development.
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Photo of Philadelphia City Institute

Facilities

  • 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

Location

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Upcoming Events

English Conversation Group

Mon, Jul 24, 5:30 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,…

Interactive Dance me a Story Program

Mon, Jul 24, 6:30 P.M.

Jessica Kilpatrick of The School of Pennsylvania Ballet shares the interactive Dance me a Story Program.  Explore story through movement and…

Music and Movement Storytime

Tue, Jul 25, 10:00 A.M.

Dance, wiggle and sing along in our fun storytime for young independent movers. Siblings are always welcome at our programs. Preschools and other…

Music and Movement Storytime

Tue, Jul 25, 11:00 A.M.

Dance, wiggle and sing along in our fun storytime for young independent movers. Siblings are always welcome at our programs. Preschools and other…

Social Justice Book Discussion

Tue, Jul 25, 4:00 P.M.

Teens in grades 7-12 are invited to participate in a discussion of important social justice issues. Participants will receive a free book and…

Teen Writers Club

Wed, Jul 26, 5:30 P.M.

In this six-week series of creative writing workshops for teens, we'll explore writing techniques and share our work in a supportive and fun…

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About

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.

History

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.