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

Open today 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

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. 25 : Opening at 2:00 PM Due to staff development.
  • Sun., Nov. 11 : Closed Veterans Day
  • Mon., Nov. 12 : Closed Veterans Day (Observed)
  • Thu., Nov. 22 : Closed Thanksgiving Day
  • Tue., Dec. 25 : Closed Christmas Day
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

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Upcoming Events

Mural Dedication: Legacy by Wale Oyejide

Sat, Oct 20, 2:00 P.M.

Blackwell Library and Mural Arts invite you to the Mural Dedication Day of Legacy by Wale Oyejide. Please call 215-685-7429 to RSVP or ask…

Computer Tutoring

Tue, Oct 23, 5:30 P.M.

Join us in the Lab for individualized assistance provided by our Digital Resource Specialist.

Know Your Courts! Court Basics 101

Tue, Oct 23, 6:00 P.M.

Learn about the organization and procedures of the PA Judicial System. Topics: the different subject matters of each court, knowing your way…

Computer Tutoring

Wed, Oct 24, 5:30 P.M.

Join us in the Lab for individualized assistance provided by our Digital Resource Specialist.

Computer Tutoring

Thu, Oct 25, 5:30 P.M.

Join us in the Lab for individualized assistance provided by our Digital Resource Specialist.

Big Kids Storytime

Fri, Oct 26, 10:30 A.M.

Stories, songs, rhymes, music, movement, and lots of fun for children ages 2-5 and their caregivers. Siblings are welcome.

View all events

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.