Philadelphia City Institute

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

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

  • Thu., Dec. 21 : Opening at 2:00 PM Due to staff development.
  • Fri., Dec. 22 : Open 10:00 AM – 3:00 PM preparation for the Christmas Day holiday
  • Sat., Dec. 23 : Closed Christmas Day (Observed)
  • Sun., Dec. 24 : Closed Christmas Day (Observed)
  • Mon., Dec. 25 : Closed Christmas Day
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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

Author Talk: Daniel Biddle & Murray Dubin

Wed, Dec 13, 6:30 P.M.

Authors Daniel Biddle and Murray Dubin will present their book Tasting Freedom: Octavius Catto and the Battle for Equality in Civil War America…

Saturday Concert Series | West Philadelphia Orchestra

Sat, Dec 16, 3:00 P.M.

Please join us for a holiday concert with the West Philadelphia Orchestra, featuring Gregg Mervine (drums), Jim Parker (tuba), Hayley Varhol and…

English Conversation Group

Mon, Dec 18, 5:30 P.M.

Please join us for a free conversation hour as you build your confidence in speaking English. Topics may involve small talk, holidays and customs,…

Book Discussion Group

Thu, Dec 28, 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…

Music and Movement Storytime

Tue, Jan 2, 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…

Music and Movement Storytime

Tue, Jan 2, 11:00 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…

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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.