Philadelphia City Institute

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

Closed Today

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 Closed

Upcoming Closures

  • Mon., Sep. 2 : Closed Labor Day
  • Thu., Sep. 19 : Opening at 2:00 PM Due to staff development.
  • Mon., Oct. 14 : Closed Columbus Day
  • Thu., Oct. 17 : Opening at 2:00 PM Due to staff development.
  • Mon., Nov. 11 : Closed Veterans Day
View all holiday closings

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

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Upcoming Events

English Conversation Group

Mon, Aug 19, 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,…

Summer Concert Series | Brian Hayman Trio

Mon, Aug 19, 6:30 P.M.

The Brian Hayman Trio will be performing jazz pop and R&B.  They have performed around the Philadelphia area for the past 10 years.

Community Walk

Wed, Aug 21, 3:00 P.M.

Join library staff members for a leisurely 30-minute walk around the neighborhood! We’ll choose a different route to explore each week.…

English Conversation Group

Mon, Aug 26, 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,…

Summer Concert Series | The Dayen Hall Quartet

Mon, Aug 26, 6:30 P.M.

A surprise jazz ensemble will perform, featuring TNT Tony Jones on Bass, Musa Mohammed on Keys, Mike Cummings on electric guitar, and Dayen Hall…

Community Walk

Wed, Aug 28, 3:00 P.M.

Join library staff members for a leisurely 30-minute walk around the neighborhood! We’ll choose a different route to explore each week.…

View all events

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.