Walnut Street West

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

Tuesday, September 15 – Message from Staff

Walnut Street West Library is open to the public Monday, Wednesday, and Friday 1:30-4:30 p.m. There will be limited services available including: browsing, 30-minute computer use, checkout, and library account services. Please limit your total visit to 30 minutes daily.  The library will have limited services on Tuesday and Thursday that will include telephone reference, Drop Boxes will be open, library account services and library material curb-side pick-up from 10 a.m.  to 4:30 p.m...

LIBRARY MATERIALS PICKUP is available Monday thru Friday from 10:00 am to - 4::30 p.m..   You have to contact the library at 215-685-7671.to make an appointment for a pick-up.  Also, you can come into the library during hours of operation and pick-up your holds without making an appointment.   If you can not make it to the library during the operating hours or library material pick-up hours,  you can contact the library for a special pick-up time for your materials.  

201 South 40th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104
40th & Walnut Streets
215-685-7671
Open today 1:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Sunday Closed
Monday 1:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Tuesday Closed
Wednesday 1:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Thursday Closed
Friday 1:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Saturday Closed

Upcoming Closures

  • Mon., Oct. 12 : Closed Indigenous Peoples' Day
  • Wed., Nov. 11 : Closed Veterans Day
  • Thu., Nov. 26 : Closed Thanksgiving Day
  • Fri., Dec. 25 : Closed Christmas Day
View all holiday closings
Walnut Street West
Donate to Walnut Street West

Facilities

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

Upcoming Events

Community PEDAL English Classes

Fri, September 25, 2020 10:00 A.M.

All classes will meet online via Zoom Penn GSE will be offering 3 levels of ESL instruction this fall for adult (17+) English language learners in Philadelphia.  Teachers will determine each…

Community PEDAL English Classes

Wed, September 30, 2020 10:00 A.M.

All classes will meet online via Zoom Penn GSE will be offering 3 levels of ESL instruction this fall for adult (17+) English language learners in Philadelphia.  Teachers will determine each…

Community PEDAL English Classes

Fri, October 2, 2020 10:00 A.M.

All classes will meet online via Zoom Penn GSE will be offering 3 levels of ESL instruction this fall for adult (17+) English language learners in Philadelphia.  Teachers will determine each…

Community PEDAL English Classes

Wed, October 7, 2020 10:00 A.M.

All classes will meet online via Zoom Penn GSE will be offering 3 levels of ESL instruction this fall for adult (17+) English language learners in Philadelphia.  Teachers will determine each…

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.