Philadelphia Sights

Free Library of Philadelphia

  • 1901 Vine St., between 19th St. and Benjamin Franklin Pkwy. Map It
  • Benjamin Franklin Parkway
  • Library/Archive

Published 01/10/2017

Fodor's Review

Philadelphia calls its vast public-library system the Fabulous Freebie. Founded in 1891, the central library has more than 1 million volumes. With its grand entrance hall, sweeping marble staircase, and enormous reading rooms, this Greek Revival building looks the way libraries should. It's also the site of regular author readings and other book-related fairs and events. With more than 12,000 musical scores, the Edwin S. Fleisher collection is the largest of its kind in the world. The department of social science and history has nearly 100,000 charts, maps, and guidebooks. The rare-book department is a beautiful suite housing first editions of Dickens, ancient Sumerian clay tablets, illuminated medieval manuscripts, and more modern manuscripts, including the only known handwritten copy of Poe's "The Raven." The children's department houses the city's largest collection of children's books in a made-for-kids setting. The library is in the midst of renovations in preparation for a 130,000-square-foot addition designed by acclaimed architect Moshe Safdie that will house a new children's department, an area for teens, a self-publishing center, exhibition galleries, and a 550-seat auditorium.

Sight Information


1901 Vine St., between 19th St. and Benjamin Franklin Pkwy., Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 19103, USA

Map It



Sight Details:

  • Free

Published 01/10/2017


Book A Trip



  • CARS

Map View

What's Nearby