Guide to the Free Library of Philadelphia Website:
Created with input from users like you, the Free Library's website is designed to be functional and easy to navigate. You'll notice that the homepage is divided into three main color-coded sections: Find (blue), Explore (green) and Ask (orange). A horizontal gray bar provides additional information about the Library. You can find each of these colored sections on every page of the website.
This guide takes a close look at each section's main features. If you need quick help, try our Frequently Asked Questions.
Other Important Features
Features of the Find Section
There is a convenient search box in the blue area of every page. This feature allows you to enter a word or phrase and find information from many Library sources.
You can also search our catalog exclusively by clicking the Catalog link below the search box on our homepage.
What it searches:
The Find search box searches the resources listed below and organizes the results under two tabs:
- Catalog. A Find search always returns Library catalog results first, as the default screen. Click here for detailed instructions on how to search the catalog.
- FLP Site Search. Find any Free Library web pages that contain your search terms. (See below for detailed information about Site Search.)
Using our Google-powered site search, you can locate almost any of the information available on the Free Library's website. It works the same way a familiar Google search works. In this case, the search is confined to Free Library pages. This does not include the catalog or our subscription databases.
Just click the Site Search link below the search box. The results will be a list of Free Library pages that contain your terms. Site Search can find a variety of information, from Library hours to events and collections, and everything in between.
Site Search includes:
- The Library's Calendar of Events
- The Library's Digital Image Collections
- Branch information
- Philly FAQs
- Departmental/Subject FAQs
- Free Library recommended weblinks
- Community resources
- Free Library online booklists
- Library press releases
- And more
Beneath the Find search box on the homepage is a link to the Advanced Search page. This page contains links to all of our electronic resources. On the left side of the page, the Advanced Search page also contains a link directly to the Traditional Catalog, as well as links to other featured resources and new additions.
- Some electronic resources are available from non-Library computers, and can be accessed by logging in with your Library card number and PIN, while other resources are only available within the Library. You are able to access all of the resources that are available from your current location. You will also see a list of additional resources that are available at the Library. Please come to the Library if you are interested in searching these additional resources.
- Some electronic resources are available at all Library locations, while others are available only at specific locations. Click on the icon next to any resource name to find out what it contains and where it is available.
- Available To: Central Library indicates an electronic resource that is only available within the Central Library
- Available To: All Free Library Locations indicates an electronic resource that is available at all Free Library locations (the Central Library, regional libraries, and all of the branches).
- Available To: Internet with authentication indicates an electronic resource that is available from non-Library computers, by logging in with a Library card number and PIN.
Features of the Explore Section back to top
The green Explore
section consists of selected Free Library resources on popular topics.
Contents of Topics:
- Catalog Items. These are booklists created by our librarians. Each item includes an image of the book cover (when available), as well as publication information. Clicking a book's link brings up the catalog listing and the ability to request the title with a Library card and PIN.
- Electronic Resources.These are recommended resources that are chosen by our librarians. They are places to search for articles and citations that are relevant to the topic.
- Web Sites. Internet links for further exploration of the topic.
Features of the Ask Section back to top
When you have questions, the orange Ask a Librarian section
offers several ways to interact with our librarians:
- Online Chat: Have questions? Talk live online with librarians who are ready to help. You can access the service 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Online chat is provided by Ask Here PA, along with librarians from the Free Library of Philadelphia and participating libraries across Pennsylvania.
- Visit. Find your neighborhood Free Library branch. You can find a location by keyword, ZIP code, neighborhood (map), or branch name. Branch pages include detailed information on many aspects of the branches.
- Knowledge Base. This feature offers you information developed by our staff. Knowledge Base allows you to browse our many booklists, FAQs, guides, and weblinks. Browse by searching, by topic, or by most popular topic.
Of course, you can always call us at 215-686-5322 or e-mail us directly.
Above the three colored sections on the each page, you'll notice a horizontal gray bar divided into four sections: About the Library, Find a Location, Programs and Services, and Support the Library. These sections contain information about the many facets of the Free Library.
About the Library
This is the place to learn about everything from our special collections to job opportunities at the Free Library. About the Library contains the following subsections:
Collections: Descriptions and featured items for our special collections.
FLP Board and Foundation: Annual reports, board members, and mission statements.
FLP Careers: Recruiting information for Free Library jobs.
FLP Executive Staff: Contact information.
History of the Library: A brief overview of our rich history.
Holidays: Dates the Library will be closed.
Library Card Policies and Fines: The Free Library's lending rules.
Press Releases: The latest Library news.
Our Commitment to Privacy: Our privacy statement.
Our Libraries: Contact information for every branch and Central Library department.
Our Role in the Community: The mission statements of the Free Library and its Foundation.
The Renovation project: Plans for the new Central Library.
Find a Location
Locate information about all of our branches by clicking Find a Location in the gray bar on any page. There are several ways to find the location nearest to you. You can search by keyword, enter your zip code, look at a map, or find the branch name in a list. You'll find maps, directions, hours, events, and even the histories of our branches.
Programs & Services
This section lists descriptions and contact information for the Free Library's many offerings. Programs and services can be sorted by categories: Children, Teens, Adults, and Families.
Support the Library
There are a number of ways to support the Free Library of Philadelphia. You can offer a financial gift or spend some time volunteering with us. You might also want to visit the Friends of the Free Library website.
|Other Important Features back to top
At the top-right of every page is a link to access your account online
. After entering your Library card number and PIN, you'll be able to change your PIN, view, and renew Library materials you've checked out, see books we're holding for you, and review any fines you might have. If you can't remember your PIN, we can email
it to you.
A Free Library card is available at no cost to anyone who lives, works, pays taxes, or goes to school in the City of Philadelphia. In addition, anyone who lives in the state of Pennsylvania can obtain a Free Library card without charge. Out-of-state residents can obtain a card by paying an annual fee of $50.00.
If you're 18 or older, you can get a new Library card by clicking sign up now, which you can find near the top of every Free Library page. Cards should arrive in the mail in 5-10 business days. Keep in mind that you'll need to show ID the first time you use your card.
Browse the Free Library's many events on our calendar page. You can always find this link by clicking “Events” at the top-right of every page. Events are listed by location, date, and type.
The Free Library of Philadelphia respects your privacy. We collect no private, personal information unless you voluntarily supply it. For more information, please read our Privacy Statement.
The Free Library's RSS feeds provide automatic updates on selected Library lectures and events. You will need a news reader to access the feeds.
If you're having trouble reading the words on our website, you can easily expand or reduce the size of the letters. Just click the [ + ] and [ - ] signs on the top-right of every page to customize the text size.
We welcome you to write us with your questions and comments about the Free Library website. Please include your email address if you would like a reply. We try to respond to all queries within a few days.