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Schedule a Visit

The Othmer Library is currently closed to in-person research.

Contact staff members for reference, research assistance, and copy services at Because of COVID-19 restrictions we are waiving fees for reasonable requests.

Research Inquiries

Make an Appointment

Before Visiting

  • While not required, you may request items in advance of your visit. Materials will be retrieved by library staff and brought to you in our Reading Room.
  • If you are interested in viewing rare books or archives, please read the special policies below.

Location, Hours, and Contact

We are located at

315 Chestnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19106
Phone: 215.629.5146

Our hours are Monday–Friday, 10:00 a.m.–4:00 p.m. (Eastern Time).

We are closed on the following holidays:

Wheelchair Access

A wheelchair-accessible pedestrian gate is available at our parking-lot entrance on 3rd Street between Chestnut and Market Streets. The pedestrian gate is unlocked during regular business hours and for events. If you’re traveling by car, drive up to the parking-lot gate, which will open automatically during regular business hours and events. You may park in any open spot marked “Visitor” or in one of two spots reserved for persons with disabilities. To enter the building, call our receptionist via the intercom at the East Entrance for visitors and staff.

Learn more about accessibility at the Science History Institute.

Reading Room Procedures

  • Upon arrival provide a current photo identification and fill out a registration form.
  • Place umbrellas, backpacks, or briefcases into a locker.
  • Use only pencils or laptops for note taking.
  • Use of digital cameras is permitted for research purposes.

Special Policies for Accessing Rare Books and Archives

  • Before your visit please provide a list of books and/or archives you plan to view. Email
  • Research hours for rare books and archives are 10:00 a.m.–12:00 p.m. and 1:00 p.m.–4:00 p.m.
  • For photocopies or scans, make a request through library staff, who will scan materials. There are fees for copies.

Travel Grants

The Othmer Library offers travel grants for periods of up to two weeks for research visits. Applicants must currently reside more than 75 miles from Philadelphia in order to be eligible. Travel grants are $750 per week and are intended to help defray the costs of travel and accommodation. To apply for a travel grant fill out our online application form. Please contact with any questions.

Please Note:
Due to the closure of the library for in-person research, we have temporarily ceased reviewing travel grant requests until we have a reopening date. Library staff members are available for reference, research assistance, and copy services at If you aim to visit the library for research when we reopen, please contact us so that we can anticipate future need.