Philadelphia City Institute

1905 Locust Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103-5730
19th & Locust on W. Rittenhouse Square
Open today until 5:00 p.m.
Sunday, 4/7 Closed
Monday, 4/8 11:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.
Tuesday, 4/9 11:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.
Wednesday, 4/10 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Thursday, 4/11 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
1:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. *
Friday, 4/12 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Saturday, 4/13 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
  • * Thursday had hour changes – Due to staff development.
Sunday Closed
Monday 11:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.
Tuesday 11:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.
Wednesday 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Thursday 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Friday 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Saturday 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Upcoming Closures

  • Thu., May. 9 : Opening at 1:00 PM due to staff development
  • Mon., May. 27 : Closed Memorial Day
  • Thu., Jun. 13 : Opening at 1:00 PM due to staff development
  • Wed., Jun. 19 : Closed Juneteenth
View all holiday closings


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

Upcoming Events

Story Drumming with Philly Talking Drums

Sat, April 13, 2024 11:00 A.M.

Boost skills in music, language and literacy while having fun!  Join us for an interactive program which combines reading with drumming.  This program is for school age children.

Gibby's Joint: A Free Concert for Jazz Appreciation Month

Sat, April 13, 2024 5:30 P.M.

Philadelphia was a mecca for some of Jazz's earlier pioneers. In celebration of Jazz Appreciation Month, we will be exploring some of the genre's notable pieces through a folk lens,…

Neurodiverse Reads: A Discussion Group for Adults and Older Teens

Mon, April 15, 2024 5:30 P.M.

Adults and older teens are invited to participate in a monthly discussion series of books exploring neurological differences such as autism, ADHD, and more. Please register for this program by…

State Rep. Ben Waxman Mobile Office Hours

Tue, April 16, 2024 11:00 A.M.

State Rep. Ben Waxman’s Office is providing mobile office hours in Rittenhouse Square. They will be available to provide constituents with information on state government-related programs…


Located on the first floor and lower level of a high-rise apartment building on the west side 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 since 1855. The Philadelphia City Institute Library (PCI) has had three locations first, in 1855, on the northeast corner of 18th and Chestnut Streets. It moved to 218 S 19th St in 1923. In 1956 it moved to the current location at 1905 Locust Street, facing Rittenhouse Square. This independent library joined the city wide Free Library of Philadelphia system in 1944.  Today, the PCI Library continues to function 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.”