Philadelphia City Institute

Services and hours are subject to change — please call in advance. Before you visit, please review our new COVID-19 guidelines.

1905 Locust Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103-5730
19th & Locust on W. Rittenhouse Square
Open today 2:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Sunday Closed
Monday 2:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Tuesday 2:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Wednesday 2:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Thursday 2:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Friday 1:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Saturday Closed

Upcoming Closures

  • Sat., Dec. 25 : Closed Christmas Day
  • Sat., Jan. 1 : Closed New Year's Day
  • Mon., Jan. 17 : Closed Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
  • Mon., Feb. 21 : Closed Presidents' Day
View all holiday closings

Facilities

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

Upcoming Events

CareerLink Job Searching

Fri, December 3, 2021 1:00 P.M.

A representative from PA CareerLink will provide drop-in one-on-one career counseling and consultation for adults from 1:00 pm to 4:30 pm. Free! No registration required.  

Library in the Park with Nourishing Literacy

Tue, December 7, 2021 10:00 A.M.

Join PCI staff at the Goat Statue in Rittenhouse Square to check out library materials and sign up for a library card on Tuesday mornings from 10 am to 12 pm. This program will begin on Tuesday…

Storytime at the Goat Statue!

Wed, December 8, 2021 10:00 A.M.

Join Miss Liz for a weekly storytime at the goat statue in Rittenhouse Square on Wednesday mornings at 10:00. She will share stories and activities for babies, toddlers, and preschoolers every…

Library in the Park with Nourishing Literacy

Tue, December 14, 2021 10:00 A.M.

Join PCI staff at the Goat Statue in Rittenhouse Square to check out library materials and sign up for a library card on Tuesday mornings from 10 am to 12 pm. This program will begin on Tuesday…

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.