Walnut Street West

201 South 40th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104
40th & Walnut Streets
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 Closed

Upcoming Closures

  • Mon., Feb. 20 : Closed Presidents' Day
  • Thu., Feb. 23 : Opening at 2:00 PM due to staff development
  • Thu., Mar. 23 : Opening at 2:00 PM due to staff development
  • Fri., Apr. 7 : Closed Good Friday
View all holiday closings

Facilities

  • Bicycle rack
  • Book drop box
  • Change machine
  • Computers for public use
  • Handicapped accessible
  • Photocopier (black/white)
  • Printing (black/white)
  • Public restrooms
  • Screen magnify tools
  • Street parking (metered)
  • Wireless internet access (wi/fi)
  • Scanner

Upcoming Events

Artsy Craftsy Storytime

Fri, February 3, 2023 10:30 A.M.

Join Us Friday morning for storytime and a craft with Ms. Rachel. The final Friday of the month will always be a STEM activity. Great for ages 2-5. Large groups please call at least a day ahead to…

English Class for Beginners

Fri, February 3, 2023 12:30 P.M.

Learn and practice English for daily communication in this in-person course for beginner-level English language learners (A1/A2). Register here: …

LEGO Club

Fri, February 3, 2023 3:30 P.M.

Children ages 7 and up are invited to come get creative with LEGOs every Friday! Make new things and meet new friends!  

Lunar New Year Celebration

Sat, February 4, 2023 11:00 A.M.

Children and families are invited to come celebrate the Year of the Rabbit with us on Saturday, February 4th from 11am-1pm during our first Lunar New Year celebration since 2020! Enjoy a…

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.