Walnut Street West

201 South 40th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104
(40th & Walnut Streets)
215-685-7671

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 Closed

Upcoming Closures

  • Tue., Jul. 4 : Closed Independence Day
  • Thu., Jul. 27 : Opening at 2:00 PM Due to staff development.
  • Thu., Aug. 24 : Opening at 2:00 PM Due to staff development.
  • Mon., Sep. 4 : Closed Labor Day
  • Thu., Sep. 28 : Opening at 2:00 PM Due to staff development.
View all holiday closings

Photo of Walnut Street West

Facilities

  • Bicycle rack
  • Book drop box
  • Change machine
  • Computer lab
  • Computers for public use
  • Electrical outlets available
  • Handicapped accessible
  • Meeting space (reservation required)
  • Photocopier (black/white)
  • Printing (black/white)
  • Public restrooms
  • Screen magnify tools
  • Street parking (metered)
  • Water fountain
  • Wireless internet access (wi/fi)

Location

Get Directions

Nearby Libraries

Support Walnut Street West

Donate Now

Upcoming Events

ESL Class

Wed, Jun 28, 12:30 P.M.

PEDAL@GSE ESL Classes are FREE for adults (17 years+); Registration is preferred. Novice Class: Mondays from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. &…

Storytime!

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

Young children and families are invited to join us for stories, songs, and activities!

Fantasy Roleplaying Club

Wed, Jun 28, 5:30 P.M.

CALLING ALL BRAVE WARRIORS AND WIZARDS! Are you interested in Dungeons & Dragons? Ever wanted to play a tabletop roleplaying game(RPG)?…

Poetry Workshop

Wed, Jun 28, 6:00 P.M.

"The Self In Play" is a #FREE poetry writing workshop for all ages, and  all experience levels! Anyone is welcome to attend, and each…

Read on the Beach – Family Storytime

Thu, Jun 29, 10:30 A.M.

Can’t make it to the shore? Let the ocean come to you! Join us for a special beach- and summer-themed family storytime.

Arabic Storytime

Thu, Jun 29, 11:30 A.M.

Join Mrs. Shirin Mohammad for storybooks read in Arabic.

View all events

About

Located near the University of Pennsylvania, the Walnut Street West Branch has been serving West Philadelphia since 1906, celebrating its 110 year anniversary in the spring of 2016. The building was fully renovated in 2004, and the entrance was restored to its original location on 40th Street. Located near a parking garage, supermarket, movie theater, bank, and a wide variety of upscale eateries — the library serves the communities of University City, Spruce Hill, Cedar Park, and Garden Court. 

History

The Walnut Street West Branch opened on May 28, 1895, making it the fifth Philadelphia Public Library branch. It was housed in a suite of three rooms on the first floor of the West Philadelphia Institute at 40th and Ludlow Streets, and became a branch of the Free Library of Philadelphia on January 1, 1896. After expanding to 5 rooms, the branch moved to the Hamilton School Building, 4105-09 Chestnut Street on May 1901. The branch was known as the West Philadelphia branch at this time.

The building Walnut Street West is currently housed in opened to the public on June 26, 1906. It was the first of thirty libraries funded by a grant from Andrew Carnegie and was built at a cost of $80,387.68 on land donated by Clarence Clark, a West Philadelphia banker. Mr. Clark’s will deeded the land to the city "in perpetuity" as long as a library sat on it. During the first year of operation, 79,683 books were borrowed from the branch. A lecture hall seating 300 people was part of the lower level.

In 1960, the branch added air conditioning and moved the public entrance to Walnut Street. From 1998 to 2004, the library was housed in temporary quarters at 3927 Walnut Street as the facility underwent a complete renovation, adding a second level and making use of “green” environmentally-friendly materials and technology. The entrance was then moved again to the original location on 40th Street. A mural of West Philadelphia scenes by artist Paul Santoleri now welcomes visitors.