For your safety and the safety of staff, please follow these guidelines.

Wear a mask at all times. Masks must cover your nose and mouth.
Respect social distancing guidelines with other patrons and staff.
Check hours and services at your neighborhood library as these may change.
Respectfully wait your turn for library resources and services.
Please refer to our complete list of guidelines when planning your visit.

Helpline: 1-833-TALK FLP (825-5357)

Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday
10:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.
10:00 a.m.–8:00 p.m.

Stay Informed

Receive updates on social media or check back regularly for the latest information. Read more about the Free Library's Response to COVID-19.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Last updated May 3, 2021

Visiting the Free Library

The Free Library is offering limited services at some locations. Please visit our Locations page or call your neighborhood library for hours of operation and more information. You can also call our helpline at 1-833-TALK FLP (825-5357) during open hours: Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays, 10:00 a.m.‐5:00 p.m., and Wednesdays, 10:00 a.m.‐8:00 p.m.
Library hours currently vary by location and day of the week. Please visit our Locations page, or call your neighborhood library ahead of your visit . Patrons can also call 1-833-TALK FLP (825-5357) to find out the latest information for each location.
To offer services at a neighborhood library, we must be able to fully and safely staff it. Staff must be able to safely travel to work, social distance within the library, have access to PPE, and healthfully interact with patrons.

If your library is not offering limited services, we are not yet able to follow COVID-19 safety protocols at your location. Stay tuned to our Locations page and our COVID-19 resource page for reopening updates. In the meantime, please use services available at another Free Library location.
Yes. We are following federal, state, health, and local guidelines to help manage the spread of COVID-19 and to create a safe library experience for all. This includes wearing gloves while opening book drops and mandatory mask wearing. Following guidance from the Philadelphia Department of Public Health (PDPH) as well as updated CDC data, the Free Library has ceased quarantining returned library materials.
Yes: it is now mandatory to wear a mask in Philadelphia. Staff and patrons must wear a mask that covers their mouth and nose. Patrons who visit a library without a mask will be provided with one upon arrival. Please see the complete list of guidelines for planning your visit.
All libraries have been deep cleaned and disinfected following the initial stay at home order and closure of all libraries. A daily cleaning routine by municipal guards/custodial staff has been implemented to adhere to and maintain the City of Philadelphia's Guidelines for Reopening with Care standards. Each municipal guard and custodial staff member is required to take a COVID cleaning certification training provided by the City of Philadelphia. Additionally, the Free Library has a contract with an external cleaning company who will augment regular cleaning in our neighborhood libraries.
A few libraries are piloting browsing opportunities at this time, but this varies by location. Please visit the Locations page or call 1-833-TALK FLP (825-5357) for a list of services available at your local library. You can also browse and place holds through our online catalog 24/7. And remember, many libraries are currently offering materials pickup options!
Restrooms are available for use in library locations that are open to the public, but are not accessible at those locations that are not currently offering in-building services.

Returns, Holds, and Pickups

Book drops are open at many library locations. Check our Locations page to see if your neighborhood library is offering book drop services. Book drops may be locked when a library is closed, so call ahead to see if your library's book drop is open.
All materials checked out in early March were due August 31. Please return these materials to an open book drop as soon as you're able. And remember, the Free Library is now fine-free!
No. We ask that patrons do not clean their materials, as this can damage them. Instead, per the findings of the REALM Project (REopening Archives, Libraries and Museums), we are quarantining all returned materials for 7 days. REALM is a research partnership between OCLC, a global library cooperative; the Institute of Museum and Library Services; and Battelle Memorial Institute, a private nonprofit, applied science and technology development company. Battelle creates science-based information and recommended practices for reducing the risk of COVID-19 transmission. They also distribute science-based information to staff and visitors who are engaging in the delivery or use of museum, library, and archival services.
If you've returned materials within the last 7-14 days, it's likely they are being quarantined due to COVID-19 safety precautions. All materials will be recorded as returned after quarantine is complete. In the meantime, you may still place holds online and renew any renewable items (those not on hold by another patron).
Yes. You can place new holds and schedule materials pickups at a limited number of library locations! Holds can be made via; phone; or, in limited locations, in person.
To schedule a contactless pickup appointment, call your library. Drop-in appointments may also be available at limited library locations. Please call your neighborhood library before you visit to ensure drop-in appointments are accepted.

When you arrive for your appointment, approach the pickup table at the library's entrance. A Free Library staff member will request your name and pickup time. They will place your bagged materials on the table, and you may retrieve the bag after the staff member has stepped away.

Please arrive on time and wear a mask. This will help ensure everyone's safety!
We apologize for the inconvenience, as staffing can vary unexpectedly. Call our helpline at 1-833-TALK FLP (825-5357) during open hours: Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays, 10:00 a.m.‐5:00 p.m., and Wednesdays, 10:00 a.m.‐8:00 p.m., and your request will be passed on to neighborhood library staff.
Call your library to reschedule your pickup appointment. If you do not call to reschedule, we will release your materials after two scheduled pickup days.
The Free Library is expanding our Homebound Services for patrons who cannot safely travel to the library due to COVID-19. Please contact us to request Homebound Services. Call our helpline at 1-833-TALK FLP (825-5357) during open hours: Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays, 10:00 a.m.‐5:00 p.m., and Wednesdays, 10:00 a.m.‐8:00 p.m.

You can also ask a friend, neighbor, or family member to pick up your materials. When you schedule your pickup appointment, tell the staff member that someone else will pick up your materials. Make sure to give this person your full name, phone number, and your library card number before they come to the library. When they arrive to pick up your materials, a staff member will ask them for your name and library card number before giving them your materials.

Digital Resources

Visit our Digital Media page, where you can browse our collection by database. You can also search our catalog for a specific title.

To check out digital materials, you'll need your library card number and your PIN. Don't have a card yet? Sign up online and get instant access.
See our detailed guides on how to use ebooks, audiobooks, and other digital media.

For personalized assistance, call our helpline at 1-833-TALK FLP (825-5357) during open hours: Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays, 10:00 a.m.‐5:00 p.m., and Wednesdays, 10:00 a.m.‐8:00 p.m.
Yes! Browse our Online Learning databases for live tutoring, practice tests, language lessons, and more. We also have homework resources for every grade.

Get a Card Online

Yes! Sign up now and get instant access to our digital resources.
A Free Library card is available at no cost to anyone who lives, works, pays taxes, or goes to school in the City of Philadelphia. In addition, anyone who lives in the state of Pennsylvania can get a Free Library card without charge.

Virtual Programming

Yes! Our staff is hosting virtual programming every day. Join us for storytimes, meditation, cooking classes, book clubs, and more.
Most events do not require registration. Browse events through our calendar to find out whether registration or tickets are required.
Yes, but it will be a little different! For the first half of the school year, LEAP will be sharing activities, DIY videos, homework help, and more via social media and online. With a digital binder full of Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math (STEAM) activities, LEAP is ready to make sure children and teens throughout Philadelphia are inspired and curious to learn more about things that interest them! To learn more about the Free Library's resources for students, visit our blog.