The Lucien E. Blackwell West Philadelphia Regional Library will be closed through May 19, 2017. Due to building renovation. During this time we encourage you to visit the following nearby libraries:

Lucien E. Blackwell West Philadelphia Regional Library

125 South 52nd Street
Philadelphia, PA 19139-3408
(West Phila. Regional 52nd & Sansom Sts.)

Library is temporarily closed.

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Upcoming Events

Grand Reopening Celebration

Sat, May 20, 11:00 A.M.
Lucien E. Blackwell West Philadelphia Regional Library

Join us from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. for the Grand Reopening Celebration of the Lucien E. Blackwell Regional Library! There will be food,…

Fiber Craft Group

Wed, May 24, 6:00 P.M.
Lucien E. Blackwell West Philadelphia Regional Library

Fiber artists are invited to join us every Wednesday from 6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.  Bring your latest project and enjoy an evening of crafting…

Fiber Craft Group

Wed, May 31, 6:00 P.M.
Lucien E. Blackwell West Philadelphia Regional Library

Fiber artists are invited to join us every Wednesday from 6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.  Bring your latest project and enjoy an evening of crafting…

Moonlight

Sat, Jun 3, 2:00 P.M.
Lucien E. Blackwell West Philadelphia Regional Library

This film presents three defining chapters in the life of Chiron, a young African-American, gay male growing up in Miami.  His journey to…

Fiber Craft Group

Wed, Jun 7, 6:00 P.M.
Lucien E. Blackwell West Philadelphia Regional Library

Fiber artists are invited to join us every Wednesday from 6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.  Bring your latest project and enjoy an evening of crafting…

Lady Valor: the Kristin Beck Story

Sat, Jun 10, 2:00 P.M.
Lucien E. Blackwell West Philadelphia Regional Library

This documentary is about Kristin Beck, who, after 20 years of service as a U.S. Navy SEAL, began to live her life truthfully as a transgender…

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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.