Saturday, April 10, 2010

Mayor's office responds to Eastie library concerns

The trustees of the Boston Public Library voted yesterday to accept one of the three plans presented to them to close this year's budget shortfall -- a proposal to shutter four branch libraries, including the Orient Heights branch in East Boston -- and the mayor has accepted their decision. There has been significant public outcry against the plan, and the Boston Globe story says that, "Some on the City Council are vowing a fight."

, the mayor's liaison to East Boston, released a letter that says Eastie residents should be mindful that part of the plan is also to build a new branch for the neighborhood in an as-yet-undetermined centrally located site. He adds:
In the short term: most of the non-library services performed in the Barnes Ave. building -- reading for preschoolers; senior activities; book discussions; etc .-- will be moved into the Orient Height Community Center. **We will maintain the same level of these types of services as before and coordinate with the Elderly Commission; Boston Public Schools; BCYF; and the private sector to expand services and try new programming.** If there is something new you'd like to see, let me know and we can try it. Also, at that location you will have parking unlike at Barnes Ave.

All specific library functions will be merged into the Meridian Branch. Meridian will NOT have services cut further thanks to the building consolidation and overall pay/workforce reduction (i.e. layoffs of individual library staff). We can arrange for book return pick up in the Heights and will experiment with delivery services for seniors who cannot walk to Meridian.

In the medium term: last July we completed a feasibility study for a new "lead" library in East Boston. The building will have over 20,000 square feet which is nearly twice the usable space of the existing (Meridian/Heights) buildings combined. We are currently looking for a site and then will proceed with design and ultimate construction. East Boston has one of the fastest growing youth populations in the City and we need a modern building that can accommodate our needs.
will be a great benefit to East Boston."

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