The Free Library of Philadelphia seeks volunteers to guide visitors through the Parkway Central Library’s Rare Book Department at 1901 Vine Street, and the Rosenbach brothers’ historic house and library at 20th and Delancey.


Trainees will take a nine-week course that covers the history of the Rare Book Department and the Rosenbach, highlights of both collections, topics in museum education, and presentation skills. The course will be taught by Free Library Special Collections curators and education staff, and will be offered Saturday afternoons from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m., February 2020 through March 2020. After participating in the course and premiering their tours, new guides will conduct 45-minute tours for groups and walk-in visitors inside the Rare Book Department and the Rosenbach home.


  • The Free Library asks for a commitment of three shifts per month: one at the Rare Book Department and two at the Rosenbach. Rare Book Department shifts consist of one 45-minute tour; Rosenbach shifts consist of three 45-minute tours, both depending on visitation.
  • Guides will also assist with June open houses: Bloomsday on June 16 and Wawa Welcome America the last weekend of June.
  • Guides are expected to attend at least three Guide Workshops each year.


  • Outgoing personality, strong verbal communication skills, and stamina for giving tours.
  • Ease with museum visitors of all ages and backgrounds.
  • Interest in literature, the history of books, history, fine arts, and decorative arts.
  • A desire to make a long term commitment to sharing enthusiasm for the Rare Book Department and Rosenbach collections in a serious and thoughtful way.


Rare Book and Rosenbach guides receive free admission to the Rosenbach for themselves, friends, and family, free admission to many programs, discounted registration for Rosenbach book groups, invitation to both the Free Library and the Rosenbach’s annual volunteer appreciation dinners, discounts in the Museum shop, and continuing education sessions.