DATE: November 06, 2013
In East Boston, a New Library for a Growing Neighborhood
Boston Mayor Tom Menino celebrated with community members and state and local officials at the dedication of the new East Boston Branch of the Boston Public Library which officially opened to the public on November 2, 2013. With an open and flexible design that is responsive to community needs in this vibrant, active, growing neighborhood of 40,000 residents, the new branch transforms the way residents experience library services. It is a welcoming community space that offers everything from homework help, story time, conversation circles, and parent-child play groups to books, computers, and entertainment.
At over 15,000 square feet, the new library is more than double the size of both former East Boston branches combined. It includes more than 40 computers, increasing computer capacity by 116% and has building-wide free wireless access. It also features the first dedicated "Early Literacy" space for children with interactive toys and programs and a Teen Zone with opportunities for technology collaboration, homework, and social gathering. There are multiple community meeting spaces and adult areas for reading, computing, and working, as well as a quiet study room with a focus on East Boston history.
This $18 million project was made possible in part with a grant from the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners (MBLC) totaling more than $7.2 million. East Boston received the grant in April 2013 after being on a waiting list for funding since July 2011. The community was able to move forward with the project before receiving the grant award and broke ground on April 25, 2012.
Not only is the design of the new library community friendly, it is environmentally friendly as well. Located on the East Boston Greenway bike path and close to MBTA train and bus routes, the library is easy to get to. It maximizes use of natural daylight, is landscaped with native plants, and has an exterior water runoff collection system to supply water to garden beds. It is seeking LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification from the U.S. Green Building Council. Once certified, it is eligible for additional funding from the MBLC as part of the Green Library Incentive which helps libraries in the Massachusetts Public Library Building Program construct environmentally responsible buildings.
The East Boston Branch of the Boston Public Library is one of several Massachusetts Public Library Construction projects opening this fall. Westwood Public Library and Millis Public Library opened in September. Projects in Granby, Foxborough, and Holyoke are set to celebrate openings later in the month. There are also library construction projects underway in Athol, Eastham, Edgartown, Everett, Framingham, Salisbury, South Hadley, Reading, West Springfield, and West Tisbury. Belmont, Shrewsbury, and Scituate are working to secure local funding for their projects by December 31, 2013. Nine communities are on a waiting list for funding.
For more information about the Massachusetts Public Library Construction Program, please visit the MBLC's website.
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.