Lucien E. Blackwell West Philadelphia Regional Library

125 South 52nd Street
Philadelphia, PA 19139-3408
West Phila. Regional 52nd & Sansom Sts.
Closed Today
Sunday, 5/19 Closed
Monday, 5/20 11:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.
Tuesday, 5/21 11:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.
Wednesday, 5/22 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Thursday, 5/23 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
1:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. *
Friday, 5/24 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. *
Saturday, 5/25 Closed
  • * Thursday has hour changes – due to staff development
  • * Friday has hour changes – preparation for the Memorial Day holiday
Sunday Closed
Monday 11:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.
Tuesday 11:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.
Wednesday 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Thursday 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Friday 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Saturday Closed

Upcoming Closures

  • Thu., May. 23 : Opening at 1:00 PM due to staff development
  • Fri., May. 24 : Closing at 1:00 PM preparation for the Memorial Day holiday
  • Mon., May. 27 : Closed Memorial Day
  • Wed., Jun. 19 : Closed Juneteenth
View all holiday closings

Facilities

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

Upcoming Events

Adult Basic Literacy Classes

Mon, May 20, 2024 12:00 P.M.

Do you know an adult who wants to learn to read or write? We are offering FREE basic literacy course for adults to help them improve their basic skills. For more information, call 215-868-8664 or…

One Book, One Philadelphia Storytime: Can Bears Ski?

Mon, May 20, 2024 4:00 P.M.

"Dad Bear asks again, 'CAN BEARS SKI?' Is that really what he's asking me?" We will be reading Can Bears Ski? , written by Raymond Antrobus and illustrated by Polly Dunbar.…

Black Wall Street

Mon, May 20, 2024 4:30 P.M.

Travel back in time to 1921!  Learn about the shocking story of "Black Wall Street" in  the Greenwood District of Tulsa, Oklahoma. Explore the history,…

Blackwell and Friends Book Club

Mon, May 20, 2024 5:00 P.M.

Join us to discuss our latest book selection! The Blackwell and Friends Book Club Meet-up is every 3rd Monday of the month. May 20 - Let Us Descend by Jesmyn Ward June 17 - The Unsettled by…

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.