Walnut Street West

Services and hours are subject to change — please call in advance. Before you visit, please review our new COVID-19 guidelines.

201 South 40th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104
40th & Walnut Streets
Open today until 6:00 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., Oct. 11 : Closed Indigenous Peoples' Day
  • Thu., Nov. 11 : Closed Veterans Day
  • Thu., Nov. 25 : Closed Thanksgiving Day
  • Fri., Dec. 24 : Closed Christmas Day (Observed)
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

Outdoor Storytime

Thu, September 30, 2021 10:30 A.M.

Ms. Echo and Mr. Bruce are back at it again! Children ages 0-5 and their caregivers are welcome to join us for socially distanced stories and songs on the green at Locust and 40th Street (behind…

Fact-Check Friday

Fri, October 1, 2021 10:00 A.M.

Why should fiction get all the recommendations when non-fiction is just as fun?! Every Friday check out our Instagram page to learn a fun fact from one of our many great children’s…

Middle Grade Monday

Mon, October 4, 2021 12:00 P.M.

Middle school is hard enough without having to figure out what new books to read. Don’t worry - Ms. Echo has you covered! Join us on Instagram every Monday for a new book recommendation as…

Outdoor Storytime

Thu, October 7, 2021 10:30 A.M.

Ms. Echo and Mr. Bruce are back at it again! Children ages 0-5 and their caregivers are welcome to join us for socially distanced stories and songs on the green at Locust and 40th Street (behind…

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.