Widener Library

Widener Library is temporarily closed.

Thursday, November 5 – Message from Staff

Widener Library is currently offering contactless pick-up service Monday through Friday from 10am-4pm. If you would like to reserve a book, DVD, or other material, call us during these hours at 215-685-9798 and you can set a time to pick up your material. Our drop-box is open 24/7 for your convenience if you need to return any library materials. We are not open for computer or photocopier use.


At this time, Widener is serving as a school access center, providing a limited number of K-6 students a safe place for digital learning when caregivers work outside the home and have no childcare supports. If you would like more information about this program, please call 215-709-5366.

2808 West Lehigh Avenue
Philadelphia, PA 19132-3296
28th & Lehigh Ave.


Recently moved into a brand-new glass-fronted building, the Widener Branch serves the communities of North Central Philadelphia, Strawberry Mansion, and Allegheny West. The branch has an African Plains theme. Come in and try to find the hidden elephants and giraffes!


In 1807, Penn Township was formed from the western portion of the Township of Northern Liberties. The area surrounding Widener Branch was usually called North Penn. In the mid 19th Century, the neighborhood was known as Swampoodle. The area developed after trolleys became electrified in 1892 and is now known as Strawberry Mansion/Allegheny West.

In 1900, the H. Josephine Widener Branch of the Free Library was opened in the Widener Mansion at Broad and Girard, a gift of Peter A.B. Widener in memory of his wife. In 1946, the Widener mansion was sold. The proceeds were used to buy and remodel a former bank building at 2531 W. Lehigh Avenue.

Designed by architects Buell, Kratzer and Powell, the current building opened on January 31, 2005. The library is based on the theme of the African Plains, with four special areas for youths: Preschool Plains, School-Age Savanna, Pre-Teen Plateau, and Teen Terrain. Abstract elephants and giraffes are hidden in the design of the library. Can you find them?