AIDS Library of Philadelphia Turns 30

The AIDS Library of Philadelphia, the first lending library of its kind, celebrates its first thirty years of service to the HIV community on Friday, November 10, with a cocktail reception and the opening of the exhibit “Still Fighting for Our Lives,” featuring selections from the Philadelphia AIDS Library Graphics Collection. The event is free to the public but you must RSVP (please see below).

Photo © Holly Clark Photography. All rights reserved

The Library, formed in 1987 by activist Heshie Zinman and librarian John Cunningham, was initially devoted to getting critical life-saving information into the hands of those who needed it most at a time when accurate and up-to-date info about HIV/AIDS was difficult to come by. Since 1999, the AIDS Library has been part of Philadelphia FIGHT, a comprehensive health services organization providing primary care, consumer education, research, and advocacy for people living with HIV/AIDS and those at high risk ( While the Library still has a large collection of HIV/AIDS-specific materials, including non-fiction, memoir, fiction, social science, medical texts, and DVDs, it has expanded its collection over the last five years in two significant ways:

It has increased its materials that address other common HIV co-morbidities such as diabetes, Hepatitis-C, cancer, heart disease, and others; and it has expanded its collection of materials by and for populations most impacted by the epidemic, and by health inequality more broadly today, such as trans people, the un- or under-insured, people living with poverty, people doing street-based sex work, and people who have been incarcerated.

Game Day at the Library. Photo © Holly Clark Photography. All rights reserved

Today the Library, like other public libraries, is utilized as a community gathering space, expanding its services to include access to computers and computer classes, support creating a resume or applying for jobs, and short-term case management. The Library also publishes a variety of resource guides annually. The Library maintains trained librarians and staff who are deeply committed to providing a compassionate and stigma-free environment for Philadelphia’s HIV/AIDS community.

For the cocktail reception, the Library has partnered with the William Way LGBT Community Center ( as hosts. The reception will also celebrate the opening of the graphic arts exhibit “Still Fighting for Our Lives” featuring materials donated by the AIDS Library over its thirty-year history.

The AIDS Library’s thirtieth anniversary cocktail reception and opening of the exhibit “Still Fighting for Our Lives” will be held on Friday, November 10, at the William Way LGBT Community Center at 1315 Spruce Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19107. The reception runs from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m.; doors open at 5:30 p.m. The event is free to the public but you must RSVP:

The AIDS Library of Philadelphia is located at 1233 Locust Street, Philadelphia PA 19107, on the second floor. You can contact the Library by phone at (215) 985-4851 or log on to:


Reporting by Hank Trout