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 until 8:00 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

  • Mon., Jan. 21 : Closed Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
  • Thu., Jan. 24 : Opening at 2:00 PM Due to staff development.
  • Mon., Feb. 18 : Closed Presidents' Day
  • Thu., Feb. 28 : Opening at 2:00 PM Due to staff development.
  • Thu., Mar. 28 : 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

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Upcoming Events

Know Your Courts! Landlord/Tenant Court

Wed, Jan 16, 6:00 P.M.

Going to Housing Court can be an overwhelming experience both for landlords and tenants. This presentation will help build knowledge and…

Read, Baby, Read Sensory Playgroup

Thu, Jan 17, 3:30 P.M.

See! Touch! Listen! Baby Sensory Playgroup is a chance for your baby to explore different materials using all of their senses.…

BAE Cafe: Breastfeeding Awareness & Empowerment

Fri, Jan 18, 11:00 A.M.

Meet up with other breastfeeding parents! Receive the latest breastfeeding information from a breastfeeding expert FREE Breastfeeding supplies…

Read, Baby, Read Storytime

Sat, Jan 19, 10:30 A.M.

Read! Sing! Play! Help your child learn through stories, songs, and fun activities. All programs are for children ages birth through 24…

Read, Baby, Read Play Group

Sat, Jan 19, 11:00 A.M.

Join us for play time and connecting with other families. All programs are for children ages birth through 24 months and their…

Literacy Lab

Sun, Jan 20, 1:15 P.M.

Literacy Lab is a small group literacy instruction program for students in 1st to 3rd grade who struggle to read on grade level. Lucien E.…

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.