DATE: April 15, 2009
Mattapan's Community Celebration
Boston Mayor Menino and City Councilor Charles Yancy cutting the ribbon to the new branch. The last time a library opened in Mattapan was in 1931.
Mayor Thomas M. Menino and Boston Public Library President Amy Ryan recently cut a ribbon on a state-of the art, new Mattapan Branch of the Boston Public Library, located at 1350 Blue Hill Avenue.
The opening was a celebration of more than ten years of work by the neighborhood task force, the Boston Public Library, and the City’s Public Facilities Department. The building is partially funded through the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners (MBLC) with funds from the Massachusetts Public Library Construction Program.
"The new Mattapan Branch library is a testament to the hard work, dedication, and collaboration of an entire community," Mayor Menino said. "It is much more than a library; it's an inviting, safe, and comfortable space that everyone in the neighborhood can enjoy. From the largest young adults space of all branch libraries to a multi-purpose community room, the building's seamless design is evident from the moment you enter the door."
MBLC Chair George Comeau echoed the Mayor’s remarks. He called the new branch “a world-class library that is relevant to the neighborhood. Today we mark the opening of a library, but it is also a testament to the strength of this community.”
MBLC Board Chairman George C. Comeau, along with Commissioner Em Claire Knowles and Board Vice-chair Katherine Dibble, joined the Mattapan community in celebrating the new branch. The Board awarded Mattapan a construction $5.2 million Massachusetts Public Library Construction Program grant.
Designed by award-winning architects, William Rawn Associates, the masonry and glass building creates a prominent civic presence that is decidedly open and inviting to the community. The building’s interior reflects this same sense of invitation in each of its major spaces. The main Reading Room, with its high ceiling and warm wood shelving and “sun grillage”, creates a welcoming space for visitors to work quietly. The Children’s Room and Young Adults Room are colorful and dynamic spaces flanking an outdoor courtyard. A 140-seat Community Room allows the library to serve the community beyond library hours.
Mattapan residents and community leaders turned out to celebrate what has been called the most technologically advanced branch in Boston
More than thirty computers are available for the community to use and the collection includes over 42,000 books, DVDs and magazine subscriptions.
The new Mattapan Branch Library is a single-story building of approximately 21,000 square feet at a cost of $16.7 million. The building showcases green design initiatives including day-lighting, energy efficiency, reduced water use and a reflective roof.
Reflecting the importance of the teenage population to the Mattapan community, this library provides the largest Young Adult space of all 26 Boston Public Library branches. TheYoung Adults Room has been designed as an oasis, a lively (and acoustically) enclosed space with robust technology encouraging heavy use after school and during the weekends.
The opening of the new branch was truly a community celebration that included the whole family with a storytime for children a performance by The Mattahunt All-Star Steppers, and a “Meet the Entrepreneur” program courtesy of the Museum of African American History.
Children are eager to get online in the new children’s room. The library has already experienced a 33% increase in requests for new library cards.
The teen room is bright and airy with Internet computers and comfortable study areas. It opens out to an open air courtyard which is bordered by the children’s room as well. The area boasts the largest proportion of young people in the city.
The Board of Library Commissioners (mass.gov/mblc) is the agency of state government with the statutory authority and responsibility to organize, develop, coordinate and improve library services throughout the Commonwealth. The Board advises municipalities and library trustees on the operation and maintenance of public libraries, including construction and renovation. It administers state and federal grant programs for libraries and promotes cooperation among all types of libraries through regional library systems and automated resource sharing. It also works to ensure that all residents of the Commonwealth, regardless of their geographic location, social or economic status, age, level of physical or intellectual ability or cultural background, have access to essential new electronic information technologies and significant electronic databases.