Philadelphia City Institute

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

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., Nov. 11: Closed Veterans Day
  • Thu., Nov. 17: Opening at 2:00 PM Due to staff development.
  • Thu., Nov. 24: Closed Thanksgiving Day
  • Thu., Dec. 15: Opening at 2:00 PM Due to staff development.
  • Sun., Dec. 25: Closed Christmas Day
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Upcoming Events

Music and Movement Storytime

Tue, Oct 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…

Speed Secrets: Lessons Learned from a Sports Medicine Physician

Wed, Oct 26, 6:00 P.M.

Cost: FREE

Dr. Michael Ross will discuss tips on how to improve your times through effective training and physiological tweaks. Dr. Ross is a board…

Preschool Costume Parade and Storytime

Thu, Oct 27, 10:00 A.M.

Join Miss Liz at the goat statue in Rittenhouse Square for a costume parade through the square, followed by storytime in the library.  All…

Preschool Open House

Thu, Oct 27, 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: •…

Baby Rhyming Time

Fri, Oct 28, 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!

Haunted House

Mon, Oct 31, 6:00 P.M.

Come in costume to the children’s room between 6:00 and 7:30 for a spooky Haunted House with games, stories, crafts and treats. This…

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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.