Library Services

The Library Company of Philadelphia is open free of charge to anyone who can benefit from the use of our collections.

For text materials (first-floor reading room), walk-ins are welcome and appointments are optional. Click here to learn more.

For visual materials (second-floor reading room), appointments are required. Click here to learn how to make an appointment.


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

Please contact the staff for more information regarding the Library Company’s collections, policies, and procedures.

For Reference Services
(215) 546-3181 or

For the Graphic Arts Department
(215) 546-3181 or


Registration policies

All researchers must fill out a registration form and present photo identification before using material in the Library Company’s collections. Coat racks and lockers are located in the lobby for storage of 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 follow all policies and procedures regarding the handling of rare materials.


The Library Company is a non-circulating, closed stack library which houses over a million rare books, pamphlets, broadsides, prints, photographs, periodicals, and newspapers. In the Scheide Reading Room, researchers request printed material by filling out call slips. Please contact the Print Department directly for an appointment to work with graphic material in their care. Information on the Library Company’s holdings and access to online catalogs can be found here.

Computer Services

Wireless internet service is available to registered researchers in the reading rooms. Researchers are permitted to use their own laptop computers. Computer terminals are also stationed in the reading rooms, where researchers can access the online catalogs and electronic databases.

Researchers may use digital cameras (without a flash) at the discretion of the staff. Professional photo-reproduction services are available through Rights and Reproductions. The Library does not permit the use of portable imaging devices, such as scanners or the use of tripods.