About the Free Library of Philadelphia Charles Santore Branch

The Charles Santore Library is a branch of the Free Library of Philadelphia that serves the South Philadelphia communities of Bella Vista, Queen Village, and Hawthorne. Located at the intersection of Carpenter and 7th Streets, it is only a short walk from the Italian Market on 9th street.

The Library has a large collection of adult, young adult, and children’s books, books on tape, DVDs, videos, magazines, and CDs as well as free Internet and computer access. The Library also offers programming for adults, teens and children. To learn about upcoming events and programs, visit the Charles Santore Library Facebook page. More information about the library including hours, upcoming closures, and facilities information can be found here.

Jeanne Hamann, Adult/Teen Librarian, currently serves as Branch Manager. Lindsay Friedman is the Children’s Librarian.

Gaining access to all that the Charles Santore Library has to offer is simple. A Free Library card is available at no cost to all Philly and PA residents and anyone who works, pays taxes, or goes to school in the City of Philadelphia. Out-of-state residents can obtain a card by paying an annual fee of $50.00. Out-of-state residents must apply online and pay online with a credit card.

You can register for a free library card by filling out the form here, or visit the Library to sign up for a card. Remember to bring along identification with your current address, or, if you live outside of the city, bring proof that you work, pay taxes, or go to school in Philadelphia.

Patrons of the Library have access to the following amenities and services:

  • ESL Learning Services – English learners can engage with fluent English instructors in both elementary and intermediate ESL learning classes as well as conversational English courses
  • Interlibrary Loans – access reading materials from *any* library in the United States through interlibrary loans
  • eBooks – access reading materials in digital format for use with a variety of mobile devices such as Kindles, iPads, and more
  • Summer Reading Programs – a variety of summer reading enrichment programs are available for our younger Library patrons 
  • Book Drop Box – make 24/7 book returns with our after-hours book drop box. . If items are returned there after the library closes, the return due date is backdated
  • Computers for Public Use – access the internet for research, bill pay, job applications, and more, all with available assistance from your friendly librarians
  • Handicapped Accessible Facilities – complete ADA-compliant facilities ensures easy and equal access for all Library patrons
  • Meeting Space (reservation required) – give your next meeting a home with designated Library meeting space
  • Printing/Photocopier (black/white)  –  print and/or copy important documents, academic work, and more
  • Public Wireless Internet Access (wi-fi) – connect to the internet with any wi-fi enabled device

History

Southwark (now known as Queen Village) is the oldest settlement in Philadelphia. King Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden granted a charter for settlement in 1638, and Swedish settlers were already established before William Penn’s arrival. The Southwark district, named after a neighborhood in London, was created in 1762. In the 1960s, the district’s name changed to the one we know today: Queen Village.

The original Southwark Library was a Carnegie Building located at 5th and Ellsworth on land donated by the Young Man’s Institute. It opened on November 15, 1912.

The Library opened in its current location on November 1, 1963. It was renovated in 1998 as part of the “Changing Lives” campaign, which refurbished branches and ensured Internet access.

The Library was renamed on March 26, 2004 to honor Charles Santore. A South Philadelphia native born in 1910, Santore was a former boxer, Republican ward leader, and founder of Municipal Employees Union Local 696. At the time of his death, he was the oldest active ward leader in any party.