Philadelphia City Institute

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

Open today until 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

  • Thu., May. 17 : Opening at 2:00 PM Due to staff development.
  • Mon., May. 28 : Closed Memorial Day
  • Thu., Jun. 21 : Opening at 2:00 PM Due to staff development.
  • Wed., Jul. 4 : Closed Independence Day
  • Thu., Jul. 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

The Declaration, the Constitution, and American Identity: A Contrarian View

Wed, Apr 25, 6:30 P.M.

Join Professor Kermit Roosevelt of the University of Pennsylvania Law School as he argues that the Declaration and the original Constitution are…

One Book Every Young Child Preschool Open House with the Pennsylvania Ballet

Thu, Apr 26, 10:00 A.M.

Join your children's librarian for a special Preschool Open House featuring  My Cousin Momo  by Zachariah Ohora, the 2018 One…

Preschool Open House

Thu, Apr 26, 10:15 A.M.

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

Preschool Open House

Thu, Apr 26, 11:15 A.M.

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

Book Discussion Group

Thu, Apr 26, 2:00 P.M.

Please join our book discussion group for Adults at the Philadelphia City Institute.  We meet on the last Thursday of every month, at 2:00…

Baby Rhyming Time

Fri, Apr 27, 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! These programs are…

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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.