Rare Books Guides

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Rare Book collections of the Free Library of Philadelphia

  • 19 people are interested

The Free Library of Philadelphia is home to one of the nation's great collections of rare books and manuscripts, housed at the Beaux Arts flagship Free Library building on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. From manuscripts of Edgar Allen Poe and Oscar Wilde, original artwork by Beatrix Potter, Howard Pyle, Kate Greenaway, and NC Wyeth, Islamic manuscripts, Judaica, cunieform, and Charles Dickens' desk, the Free Library is home to a unique, world-class humanities collection.

The Free Library is seeking enthusiastic, dedicated guides to lead visitors through the Parkway Central Rare Book Department and its varied collections. Guides will observe tours of the the Rare Book Department, study its history and highlights of the permanent collections, and explore the history of the written word.

Because we are affiliated with the Rosenbach, Rare Books guides receive free admission to the Rosenbach Museum and select programs at the Rosenbach, discounted registration for book groups, invitation to annual volunteer appreciation dinners, discounts in the Rosenbach shop, excursions, and continuing education workshops.


  • Outgoing personality, strong verbal communication skills, and stamina for giving tours
  • Ease with museum visitors of all ages and backgrounds
  • An interest in literature, the history of books, history, fine arts, and book illustration
  • A desire to make a long term commitment to sharing enthusiasm for Free Library collections in a serious and thoughtful way


  • The Free Library asks for a commitment of two shifts per month at the Rare Book Department, although varying arrangements are possible. Rare Book Department shifts consist of one 45 minute tour, both depending on visitation
  • Guides will assist with annual events like Bloomsday, the Rosenbach’s annual celebration of James Joyce’s Ulysses, and Museum Day, the yearly open house
  • Guides are expected to attend at least three continuing education workshops each year

Possible shift times

Monday through Saturday: 11:00 am

To Apply

Please attach a letter that explains your reasons for applying, qualifications, and availability to Andrew White at awhite@rosenbach.org or send by mail to Andrew White, Volunteer Coordinator, 2008 Delancey Place, Philadelphia PA 19103

More opportunities with Rare Book collections of the Free Library of Philadelphia

No additional volunteer opportunities at this time.

Arts & Culture Education & Literacy


We'll work with your schedule.


Free Library of Philadelphia Rare Book collectionsParkway Central LibraryBenjamin Franklin ParkwayPhiladelphia, PA 19103



  • History
  • People Skills
  • Storytelling
  • Cross-cultural Communication
  • Verbal / Written Communication




  • Up to four shifts of 1 to 3 hours each per month
  • Outgoing, strong communication skills, stamina for giving tours, fond of taxidermied ravens

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