Philadelphia City Institute

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

There will be no programs held in the meeting room until further notice.

Storytimes will be held in the children's room, as space permits. Cookbook Club, Teen Reading Lounge, and smaller group meetings (Homeschool Book Club, Great Books, FitC Book Club) will be held in the Teen Area. If you have questions about a particular program or meeting, please inquire at the Reference Desk.

The Robert Strauss talk on December 12 will take place in the east reading room of the Library upstairs.

Thank you so much for your patience throughout the flood recovery process.

As you may know, the lower level of our library experienced flooding recently due to a water main break in the street outside. Our lower level has been completely closed while we assess the damage and begin the cleanup process.

Beginning Monday December 5, the children’s room will reopen. The carpets have been cleaned, and we believe the room is safe for public use.

However, more repairs may be needed (potential carpet, drywall, and baseboard replacement). We have decided to allow the children’s room to be open while preparations are made for further repairs because we believe there is no safety risk to you or your children.

In the near future, we will be scheduling another full closure of the library’s lower level (children’s room, meeting room) to complete repairs needed because of the flooding damage. We will hold a community meeting to discuss the closure before it occurs. Please check with library staff for further details.

Open today 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 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., Dec. 15: Opening at 2:00 PM Due to staff development.
  • Fri., Dec. 23: Closing at 3:00 PM preparation for the Christmas Day holiday
  • Sat., Dec. 24: Closed Christmas Day (Observed)
  • Sun., Dec. 25: Closed Christmas Day
  • Mon., Dec. 26: Closed Christmas Day (Observed)
View all holiday closings

Photo of Philadelphia City Institute


  • 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)


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Upcoming Events

Cookbook Club

Sat, Dec 10, 2:00 P.M.

Do you enjoy cooking and sharing meals with friends? Join us one Saturday a month as we explore a new cookbook. We’ll each choose a recipe…

Author Talk: Robert Strauss

Mon, Dec 12, 6:00 P.M.

Cost: FREE

Author Robert Strauss will discuss his new book Worst.President.Ever. Despite probably having the best governmental resume of anyone who has ever…

Music and Movement Storytime

Tue, Dec 13, 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…

Teen Reading Lounge: An Interactive Book Club for Teenagers

Tue, Dec 13, 3:30 P.M.

Attention teens in grades 7-12! Do you like to read and talk about books? If so, you are invited to participate in a series of interesting…

Baby Rhyming Time

Fri, Dec 16, 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!

The Habits of Happy and Healthy People

Wed, Jan 4, 6:30 P.M.

Karla Chin of Exude Inc. will discuss science-based tools for: Taking control of worrying thoughts and negative emotions Building resiliency so…

View all events


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.

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Public Transportation

Bus Routes: 9, 12, 17, 21,42,
Commuter Trains: Suburban Station is 6 blocks north of PCI.