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Philadelphia Chapter Event

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Tour of the Free Library of Philadelphia & its Rare Book Room

Tuesday, December 6, 2016
10:00 AM to 12:00 PM
Location: 1901 Vine Street, Philadelphia

The Free Library of Philadelphia was founded in 1891 as the city’s first public library system.  Initiated by the efforts of Dr. William Pepper, it was chartered in 1891 as “a general library which shall be free to all.”  The first location was three cramped rooms in City Hall. In 1895, the Library moved to the old Concert Hall (1217 Chestnut Street) and to 13th and Locust streets in 1910. 

On June 2, 1927, the massive Central Library opened for service at its present location on Logan Square.  The building had been in the planning stages since 1911, however various obstacles, including WWI, halted progress.  Today the Free Library is composed of this Parkway Central Library, three large regional libraries, 49 neighborhood libraries, community Hot Spots, the Library for the Blind and Physically handicapped, the Regional Research and Operations Center, and the Rosenbach Museum.

The Rare Book Department, among the largest in American public libraries, exists to serve the people of Philadelphia, as well as the students, scholars, and researchers who use its collections.  The Library’s first gift of rare books, the  Copinger-Widener Collection of Incunabula, was received in 1899.  The installation of the 62-foot-long paneled Georgian room in the third floor of the Central Library opened in 1949, offering permanent housing for the Rare Book Department.

Our visit will begin with an hour tour of the Free Library building, followed by a second hour in the Rare Book Room, looking at some of its priceless treasures.
Space is limited, so be sure to sign up as soon as possible.

Registration, payments and cancellations* must be made by November 29th, 2016.
*No refunds will be given after this date.

For more information, email Jean Brubaker