Walnut Street West

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

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., Nov. 23 : Closed Thanksgiving Day
  • Mon., Dec. 25 : Closed Christmas Day
  • Thu., Dec. 28 : Opening at 2:00 PM Due to staff development.
  • Thu., Jan. 25 : Opening at 2:00 PM Due to staff development.
  • Thu., Feb. 22 : 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

CityLife Clinic: Adult Nutrition Workshop

Fri, Nov 17, 10:30 A.M.

This workshop, led by a registered dietitian, is being offered by the Agatston Urban Nutrition Initiative's Adult and Senior Nutrition Program…

Laptop Lab and Computer Help

Fri, Nov 17, 12:30 P.M.

From 12:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Work-study students are available to assist patrons in need of computer tutoring and instruction. The laptop lab can…

Intermediate ESL Class

Fri, Nov 17, 12:30 P.M.

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

LEGO Club

Fri, Nov 17, 3:30 P.M.

Join other children and teens at our fun weekly Lego Club! Mega-blocks available for smaller children; all materials provided.

Storytime with Arts and Crafts

Fri, Nov 17, 10:30 P.M.

Join us for stories followed by a craft project.

Science Fiction Roleplaying Club

Sat, Nov 18, 10:30 A.M.

CALLING ALL SUPER HEROES, ALIENS, AND ZOMBIE HUNTERS! Are you interested in Science Fiction? Have you ever wanted to play a tabletop role-playing…

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.