Lucien E. Blackwell West Philadelphia Regional Library

Lucien E. Blackwell West Philadelphia Regional Library is temporarily closed.

Friday, July 31 – Message from Staff

The Book Drop is OPEN 24/7 to return library materials.

Please note that all items will be first quarantined, and will therefore not be immediately checked in.

125 South 52nd Street
Philadelphia, PA 19139-3408
West Phila. Regional 52nd & Sansom Sts.
Learn about limited services at the Free Library.
Nearby Libraries

Upcoming Events

CANCELLED - Reading, Mathing, Making: Math Wednesdays

Young mathematicians will play math games and try out activities based on a new book each day. This program is in conjuction with UPenn's Urban Teaching Apprenticeship Program. …

CANCELLED - Reading, Mathing, Making: Maker Thursdays

Young makers will create a project based on a new book each day. All you need is a paper and pencil, but scissors, glue, and any odds and ends from your home never hurt! This program is in…

CANCELLED - Reading, Mathing, Making: Literacy Tuesdays

This program is in conjuction with UPenn's Urban Teaching Apprenticeship Program. Young readers will enjoy a variety of literacy activities focused on a new book each day. Registration is…

CANCELLED - Reading, Mathing, Making: Math Wednesdays

Young mathematicians will play math games and try out activities based on a new book each day. This program is in conjuction with UPenn's Urban Teaching Apprenticeship Program. …

About

Located two blocks south of the 52nd Street El station in the heart of West Philadelphia, this regional library was renamed in 2004. The library serves the communities of Cedar Park, Walnut Hill, West Market, Mill Creek, Dunlap, and West Park.

History

In 1677, William Warner purchased land from the local Native Americans and settled in the vicinity of 45th Street and Westminster Streets. He named the area Blockley after his home parish in England. Blockley became one of thirteen original townships in the city.

In 1840, the Borough of West Philadelphia was incorporated and later upgraded to the West Philadelphia District. By 1866, the Chestnut Street Bridge opened and railroad cars drawn by horses brought passengers as far as the corner of 41st and Chestnut Streets. It was not until 1904 that the line was extended to 45th Street and later to 61st Street. By 1904, Chestnut was paved as far as 46th Street, and further on it was a dirt road. Cornfields grew beyond present-day 53rd Street.

After the Market Street Elevated train opened in 1907, West Philadelphia rapidly urbanized and was significantly developed by World War II. Paul Robeson, world-renowned African American singer and actor, lived his retirement years on Walnut Street near 50th Street, a few blocks from the library.

The West Philadelphia Regional Library opened on October 21, 1976 - the second regional library in the city, providing West Philadelphia with a larger collection of books, magazines and newspapers than neighborhood branches. Designed by architect William Mann, the library was built on the site of the Rivoli Theatre.

The library was renovated in 1998 as part of the "Changing Lives" campaign, which refurbished branches and brought Internet service to every library. The building was renamed the Lucien E. Blackwell/West Philadelphia Regional library in 2004 after Lucien Blackwell, a former congressman, city council member, state legislator and local activist who died in 2003.

The library is located on 52nd Street, the major commercial and shopping district of West Philadelphia. When you visit, look in the adult room for the large, colorful mural by George Beach, entitled Knowledge.