Walnut Street West

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

Beginning the week of June 19, 2017 through September 10, 2017, the Walnut Street West Library will be closed on Saturday & Sunday (Monday - Friday hours remain unchanged). The Parkway Central library, along with Regional library branches will continue to provide weekend service throughout the summer. 

Open today until 8:00 p.m.

Sunday, 8/20 Closed
Monday, 8/21 12:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
Tuesday, 8/22 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Wednesday, 8/23 12:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
Thursday, 8/24 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
2:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.*
Friday, 8/25 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Saturday, 8/26 Closed
  • * Thursday has hour changes – Due to staff development.
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

  • 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.
  • Mon., Oct. 9 : Closed Columbus Day
  • Thu., Oct. 26 : Opening at 2:00 PM Due to staff development.
View all holiday closings

Photo of Walnut Street West


  • 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)


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Upcoming Events


Wed, Aug 23, 3:00 P.M.

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

Women's Opportunities Resource Center (WORC) and HIAS Workshop

Wed, Aug 23, 3:00 P.M.

Learn about small business loans and savings account programs offered by WORC. A representative from WORC will discuss these programs and programs…

Fantasy Roleplaying Club

Wed, Aug 23, 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)?…

West Philly Writers Workshop

Wed, Aug 23, 6:00 P.M.

Blue Moon Fiction will be hosting a weekly creative writer's group for all ages. Each meeting will be a networking opportunity for published…

CityLife Clinic: Adult Nutrition Workshop

Fri, Aug 25, 10:30 A.M.

FREE Cooking and Nutrition Workshops every Friday in January from 10:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. This workshop, led by a registered dietitian, is being…

Chess Club

Fri, Aug 25, 3:00 P.M.

Please drop in for a relaxed game of chess. This free chess gatheringis open to everyone, young and old. For more information, please email:…

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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. 


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.