Lucien E. Blackwell West Philadelphia Regional Library

Services and hours are subject to change — please call in advance. Before you visit, please review our new COVID-19 guidelines.

Wednesday, October 14 – Message from Staff

Blackwell Library is open for limited services on Monday, Wednesday and Friday afternoons from 1:30 - 4:30 p.m.

We also offer Material Pick Up! Call to reserve books, music & movies. Stop by when were are open or call to schedule a pick up time: 215-685-7431

The Book Drop is OPEN 24/7 to return library materials. Please note that all items will be first quarantined for 7 days, and will therefore not be immediately checked in.

 

125 South 52nd Street
Philadelphia, PA 19139-3408
West Phila. Regional 52nd & Sansom Sts.
Open today 1:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Sunday Closed
Monday 1:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Tuesday By Appointment
Wednesday 1:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Thursday By Appointment
Friday 1:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Saturday Closed

Upcoming Closures

  • Wed., Nov. 11 : Closed Veterans Day
  • Thu., Nov. 26 : Closed Thanksgiving Day
  • Fri., Dec. 25 : Closed Christmas Day
View all holiday closings

Facilities

  • Street parking
  • Wireless internet access (wi/fi)
  • Bicycle rack
  • Book drop box
  • Change machine
  • Children's only restroom
  • Computers for public use
  • Electrical outlets available
  • Handicapped accessible
  • Photocopier (black/white)
  • Printing (black/white)
  • Public restrooms
  • Scanner
  • Screen magnify tools
  • Screen-reading software (JAWS)
  • Self-service checkout
  • Stella Lighting
  • Street parking (free)
  • Street parking (metered)
  • Water fountain
  • ZoomText Keyboard & Special Key Features

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.