Widener Library

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

Open today until 6:00 p.m.

Sunday Closed
Monday 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Tuesday 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Wednesday 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 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., Jul. 4 : Closed Independence Day
  • Thu., Aug. 1 : Opening at 2:00 PM Due to staff development.
  • Mon., Sep. 2 : Closed Labor Day
  • Thu., Sep. 5 : Opening at 2:00 PM Due to staff development.
  • Mon., Oct. 14 : Closed Columbus Day
View all holiday closings

Photo of Widener Library


  • Book drop box
  • Computers for public use
  • Meeting space (reservation required)
  • Parking lot
  • Photocopier (black/white)
  • Printing (black/white)
  • Public restrooms
  • Street parking
  • Wireless internet access (wi/fi)

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Upcoming Events

Kids' Chess Club

Wed, Jun 19, 2:00 P.M.

Learn or hone your chess skills with other kids!  Ages 7-12.

Project D.R.E.A.M-Comic Book Literacy and Arts Program for Kids

Wed, Jun 19, 3:00 P.M.

Ever dream of creating your own comic book?  Come to presenter Shawn Alleyne’s program and you can make your dream a reality!

Garden Time with Miss Goda

Wed, Jun 19, 3:30 P.M.

Join us in making our library and neighborhood greener and more beautiful.  Ages 7-12.

Board Game Buddies

Thu, Jun 20, 3:00 P.M.

It's game time! All ages welcome to learn, play, and share! 

Kids Summer Movie Time!

Fri, Jun 21, 12:00 P.M.

Sit back and enjoy some old and new classics! Light snacks will be provided.

Toddler Storytime and Playgroup

Tue, Jun 25, 10:30 A.M.

Join us for songs, stories, and activities, with time to play with the library’s toys after!  For children aged four and younger. …

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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?