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

Masks are strongly encouraged inside Library buildings. If you are not fully vaccinated, you must continue to wear a mask and are strongly encouraged to double-mask indoors. Children under age 12 must also wear a mask.
Maintain a safe distance between yourself and others.
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 July 28, 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. We will continue to increase in-person services at neighborhood libraries with a goal of resuming five days of service at libraries across the city in the coming months.

Stay tuned to our Locations page for 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.
Based on recent recommendations from the Philadelphia Department of Public Health, we strongly encourage everyone to wear a mask inside Library buildings. If you are not fully vaccinated or are under the age of 12, you must continue to wear a mask inside Library buildings, and outdoors when around others. Masks are most effective when worn over the nose and mouth. Patrons who visit a library without a mask will be provided with one if requested. Please see the complete list of guidelines for planning your visit.
Library personnel have been training in COVID cleaning protocols and the Library follows the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Philadelphia Department of Public Health (PDPH) disinfection protocols in the event of a confirmed case of COVID in a library.

The Library has been addressing the issue of the airborne properties of COVID-19 in terms of enhancing the ventilation in the neighborhood and Parkway Central libraries. To this end, the Library has and continues to invest in capital improvements of its heating and air conditioning systems to improve the introduction of outside air into its libraries year round. Additionally the Library has purchased and deployed air purifiers for staff and public meeting and work spaces in all Free Library facilities.
Some libraries are allowing browsing 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.
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. We strongly encourage everyone to wear a mask inside Library buildings. Patrons must wear a mask while on Library property if not fully vaccinated or under the age of 12. 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.


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! Our staff are beginning to host outdoor events at, or near, many library locations. Outdoor events include storytimes, exercise classes like Zumba and yoga, crafting activities, and more.