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Free Library of Philadelphia

Opened in 1927, the Parkway Central Library is the heart of the 54-location Free Library of Philadelphia system. Home to some 7 million items, Parkway Central sees more than 1 million visits each year. Newly renovated and expanded public spaces designed by Safdie Architects opened in April 2019.


  • Technology

    80 public-access computers and free WiFi throughout the building.

  • Lectures

    More than 35 Author Events lectures each season.

  • Special Collections

    Special collections and departments including the Rare Book Department and the Edwin A. Fleisher Collection of Orchestral Music.

For Adults

Lectures Throughout the year, the Free Library’s Author Events Series brings world-renowned authors and local favorites to the Parkway Central Library. Past appearances include then-Senator Barack Obama, Barbara Walters, Marjane Satrapi, Ken Burns, and Lidia Bastianich. Visit freelibrary.org/authorevents.

Public Events The Free Library hosts many free events, workshops, classes, meeting groups, and more every day at locations across the city. For details, visit freelibrary.org/calendar.

Clubs, Membership Organizations The Free Library of Philadelphia Foundation offers many ways to get involved, support the Library, and meet new people. From our 20- and 30-somethings membership group to our exclusive generous donor societies, find the fit for you at freelibrary.org/support.

Facility Rental/Weddings The Parkway Central Library offers several beautiful spaces in our stunning Beaux-Arts building for weddings and other special events. For more information, visit freelibrary.org/about/spacerental or contact Victoria Gilbert at gilbertv@freelibrary.org or 215-567-7710.


For Kids

Summer Camps Every year, the Free Library of Philadelphia offers a system-wide summer learning program all Philadelphians. Visit freelibrary.org/summerreading.

Afterschool Activities From homework help to special afterschool events to Teen Tuesdays, visit freelibrary.org for upcoming programming.

Classes/Saturday Classes/Workshops The Free Library offers everything from art workshops to special performances throughout the week. Visit freelibrary.org/calendar for details.

Preschool Activities From storytime hours to easy craft workshops, visit freelibrary.org for upcoming programming.

For Students, Schools/Teachers

Continuing Education Classes ESL, GED, and adult reader development courses are offered. For schedules, visit freelibrary.org/calendar.

Saturday Classes Visit freelibrary.org/calendar for up-to-date offerings.

Tutoring Online homework help daily from 2 p.m. to 11 p.m. Visit freelibrary.org and click on “Homework Help.”

Education Online homework help, LEAP, and ESL and GED tutoring are among the educational offerings at the Parkway Central Library. Visit freelibrary.org for up-to-date offerings.

Afterschool Programs LEAP drop-in afterschool program offers homework help and teaches computer literacy and library skills. Visit freelibrary.org/libserv/leap.htm.

School Group Tours Available upon request. Contact Central Public Services Division at 215-686-5415. 

Online Teaching Materials Visit freelibrary.org for a variety of online resources, from databases to special “Explore” topics to online homework help.

In-school Workshops, Presentations Available upon request. Contact Central Public Services Division at 215-686-5415. 




Hour-long tours of the Rare Book Department— home to cuneiform tablets, Charles Dickens’s desk, and one of the largest collections of Edgar Allan Poe ephemera—are free and occur Monday through Saturday at 11:00 a.m. 

Evening Activities 

Public access hours/checkout; Author Events; workshops; discussions; lectures; special event receptions. 


For a wide range of volunteer activities, call 215-686-5340 or email volunteer@freelibrary.org.

© 2010-2019 Parkway Council Foundation. All rights reserved.