These libraries are cooling centers during Philly’s heat emergency, offering extended hours with free AC

Plus how to get there on public transit.

The Frankford Library is one of the designated cooling centers that'll stay open late

The Frankford Library is one of the designated cooling centers that'll stay open late

Asha Prihar / Billy Penn
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Temperatures in Philadelphia are in the 90s this week with the sun on full blast… again. 😔 The city officially declared a Heat Health Emergency (again), and it will be in effect through Tuesday evening.

What does a Heat Health Emergency mean? A few things: residential utility shut-offs are paused, the city may dispatch “mobile heat health teams,” and a “Heatline” number for consultation on heat-related health issues goes live.

It also means several Free Library branches have been designated as cooling centers for anyone looking for a free, air-conditioned location to get away from the heat.

You can drop by any library near you during the day (just check if they’re open first), but a few branches throughout the city will be open later into the evening. There are also cooling buses stationed in four different neighborhoods open until 7 p.m., and the city’s five older adult centers are open 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

As many library services as possible — like computer usage or the ability to check out books — stay up and running during the extended cooling center hours, said Free Library spokesperson Kaitlyn Foti Kalosy, but that ultimately depends on staff availability. All locations have free WiFi.


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Although Philadelphia’s public libraries aren’t typically open on the weekends, designated cooling center locations generally stay open on Saturday and Sundays if a heat emergency extends through a weekend, per Kalosy.

Here’s the list and map of designated library cooling centers, some of the best public transit routes to get there, and what time they’ll close on weekdays while the Heat Health Emergency is in effect.

Opening times vary by day and by library, so be sure to check branch hours on the Free Library website (linked in each heading), or give the branch a call. You might even be able to find fun scheduled events during regular operating hours, like storytimes or “crafternoons,” on each library’s landing page.

The library recommends wearing a mask while in cooling centers.

Lucien E. Blackwell Regional Library

The Blackwell Library is West Philly’s regional branch, meaning it has a larger collection of materials than a typical neighborhood branch. It’s just two blocks south of 52nd Street MFL stop, and bus routes 21 and 52 are nearby.

Address: 125 S. 52nd St.
Phone number: 215-685-7431
Weekday hours during heat emergency: until 7 p.m.

Joseph E. Coleman Northwest Regional Library

Like Lucien E. Blackwell Library, Joseph E. Coleman is also a regional library with a bigger collection than most branches. It’s also got a nifty dragon sculpture in its lobby. SEPTA bus routes H, XH, 26, 65, and K have stops nearby.

Address: 68 W. Chelten Ave.
Phone number: 215-685-2150
Weekday hours during heat emergency: until 7 p.m.

Blanche A. Nixon/Cobbs Creek Library

The Blanche A. Nixon branch of the Free Library is just a short walk from the Baltimore Avenue and 59th Street trolley stop (SEPTA route 34), as well as a stop for bus route 46.

Address: 5800 Cobbs Creek Parkway
Phone number: 215-685-1973
Weekday hours during heat emergency: until 8 p.m.

Fox Chase Library

Located in Northeast Philly, the Fox Chase branch isn’t far from the Fox Chase regional rail station, and it’s also served by SEPTA bus route 28.

Address: 501 Rhawn St.
Phone number: 215-685-0547
Weekday hours during heat emergency: until 8 p.m.

Frankford Library

The Frankford branch is a three-minute walk from the Arrott Transportation Center stop on SEPTA’s Market-Frankford Line. You can also get there on SEPTA bus routes 3 and 5.

Address: 4634 Frankford Ave.
Phone number: 215-685-1473
Weekday hours during heat emergency: until 7 p.m.

Fumo Family Library

South Philly’s Fumo Family Library is hard to miss, since it’s painted bright yellow. The library is a 4-minute walk from the Broad Street Line’s Oregon station, and SEPTA bus route 4 also stops near the library.

Address: 2437 S. Broad St.
Phone number: 215-685-1758
Weekday hours during heat emergency: until 7 p.m.

Lillian Marrero Library​​

Located in Fairhill, the Lillian Marrero Library building — one of 19 existing Carnegie libraries in Philadelphiaclosed for HVAC repairs in June. But the library’s Meeting Room still has AC, so just that area of the library will be in use for cooling center purposes. It’s near bus routes 47 and 54.

Address: 601 W. Lehigh Ave.
Phone number: 215-685-9794
Weekday hours during heat emergency: until 7 p.m.

Logan Library

Another one of Philly’s remaining Carnegie libraries, Logan Library is a 3-minute walk from the Logan BSL station and bus route 16. The location also serves free lunch outside to kids 18 and under most weekdays through Aug. 19, provided by Nutritional Development Services. (You can search for other food distribution sites throughout the city here.)

Address: 1333 Wagner Ave.
Phone number: 215-685-9156
Weekday hours during heat emergency: until 7 p.m.

Oak Lane Library

Right near Philly’s northern border, the Oak Lane branch is located within two blocks of bus routes 28, 55, and K.

Address: 6614 N. 12th St.
Phone number: 215-685-2848
Weekday hours during heat emergency: until 7 p.m.

Widener Library

North Philly’s Widener Library was designed to have an African Plains theme, so your stop to stay cool there can double as a scavenger hunt for the hidden, abstract elephant and giraffe designs that the library’s website says are scattered throughout. SEPTA bus routes 32, 48, and 54 stop within a few blocks of the building.

Address: 2808 W. Lehigh Ave.
Phone number: 215-685-9799
Weekday hours during heat emergency: until 7 p.m.