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 twelve-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 Tuesday evenings at 6:00 p.m., from October 2017 through February 2018. 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 Rosenbach asks for a commitment of four shifts per month: two at the Rare Book Department and two at the Rosenbach, although varying arrangements are possible. Rare Book Department shifts consist of one 45-minute tour; Rosenbach shifts consist of three 45-minute tours, both depending on visitation.
  • Guides will assist with periodic events like Bloomsday and the annual Open House.
  • Guides are expected to attend at least three continuing education sessions 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.


Rosenbach guides receive free admission to the museum and many programs, discounted registration for Rosenbach book groups, invitation to the annual volunteer appreciation dinner, discounts in the Museum shop, continuing education sessions, and trips.