Lucien E. Blackwell West Philadelphia Regional Library

125 South 52nd Street
Philadelphia, PA 19139-3408
(West Phila. Regional 52nd & Sansom Sts.)
Adult/Teen: 215-685-7433/Children's: 215-685-7422

We regret that our elevator is out of service. If you need assistance while in the building, please speak with Library staff. Anticipated completion date for the elevator repairs is Fall 2019.

Closed Today

Sunday 1:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Monday Closed
Tuesday 12:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
Wednesday 12:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
Thursday 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Friday 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Saturday 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Upcoming Closures

  • Thu., Oct. 24 : Opening at 2:00 PM Due to staff development.
  • Mon., Nov. 11 : Closed Veterans Day
  • Thu., Nov. 28 : Closed Thanksgiving Day
  • Wed., Dec. 25 : Closed Christmas Day
  • Thu., Dec. 26 : Opening at 2:00 PM Due to staff development.
View all holiday closings

Photo of Lucien E. Blackwell West Philadelphia Regional Library

Facilities

  • Baby changing station
  • Bicycle rack
  • Change machine
  • Children's only restroom
  • Computer lab
  • Computers for public use
  • Electrical outlets available
  • Handicapped accessible
  • Meeting space (reservation required)
  • Photocopier (black/white)
  • Printing (black/white)
  • Public restrooms
  • Scanner
  • Screen magnify tools
  • Screen-reading software (JAWS)
  • Street parking
  • Wireless internet access (wi/fi)
  • Book drop box
  • Self-service checkout
  • Water fountain

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Upcoming Events

Homeschool Hangout

Tue, Oct 15, 1:00 P.M.

Come to the library to play literacy and math games with other homeschool families! For children ages 11 and under.  Children must be…

Philadelphia New Voting Machine Demonstration

Tue, Oct 15, 5:30 P.M.

Philadelphia is getting new voting machines for the first time since 2002. Come test out the new touchscreen ExpressVote XL machines and practice…

Rain Check Workshop

Tue, Oct 15, 6:00 P.M.

The Lucien E. Blackwell West Philadelphia Regional Library is hosting a Rain Check Workshop. Come to this workshop to learn how you can get a free…

Computer Basics

Wed, Oct 16, 12:00 P.M.

Welcome to Computer Basics! You will learn about the monitor, control buttons, and ports. You will also improve your mouse, keyboard, and typing…

PDPH Free Narcan Day

Wed, Oct 16, 3:30 P.M.

With Philadelphia, and the nation, in the grips of an opioid overdose crisis, the Philadelphia Department of Public Health is now offering FREE…

Census Job Fair

Thu, Oct 17, 11:00 A.M.

The 2020 Census is coming and the Philadelphia region hopes to employ over 3,000 people to ensure a complete and accurate count of everyone. Get a…

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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.