Library Services

The Library Company of Philadelphia is open free of charge to anyone who can benefit from the use of our collections. Researchers can work in the Library Company’s William H. Scheide Reading Room without an appointment during our business hours, Monday through Friday, 9:00 am-4:45 pm.

Researchers wishing to work with our graphic collections, however, are requested to contact the Print Department to schedule an appointment in its separate reading room.


In addition to working with the thousands of readers, who visit the Library annually, our staff handles reference queries via phone and email.

Readers are encouraged to contact our staff for more information regarding our collections, policies, and procedures.

For Reference Services
(215) 546-3181 or

For the Print Department
(215) 546-8229 or


Registration policies
All researchers must fill out a registration form and present photo identification before using the Library’s collections. Coat racks and lockers are located in the lobby for personal belongings because no coats or bags are permitted in the reading rooms. The Library will provide readers with necessary research tools, including pencils, scrap paper, magnifying glasses, and book supports; the use of pen is prohibited. Researchers must abide by all policies and procedures regarding the handling of rare materials.

The Library Company is a non-circulating, closed stack library which houses over half a million rare books, pamphlets, broadsides, prints, photographs, periodicals, and newspapers. Material is requested by researchers through call slips. Information on the Library Company’s holdings and access to online catalogs can be found here.

Computer Services
Wireless internet service is available in the reading rooms. Readers are permitted to use their laptop computers provided that they sign a form attesting that they have up-to-date anti-virus software. Computer terminals are also stationed in the reading rooms, where readers can access the online catalogs and electronic databases.

Photocopy orders are completed by the staff who assess on a case by case basis whether the material can withstand copying without damage. The Library does not permit the use of portable imaging devices, such as scanners. Researchers may use digital cameras (without a flash) at the discretion of the staff. All images are strictly for reference purposes only and cannot be reproduced without permission.

Professional photo-reproduction services are available through Rights and Reproductions.