An Open Book

December 22, 2010
By

Architects from William Rawn Associates show the design of the new East Boston branch library to the Boston Public Library Board of Trustees during a special meeting held by the board at the Meridian Street branch last Thursday.

Details Unveiled During Meeting; New  Facility Will Be Built Near the Bremen Street Park; Cost Estimated at $11.3m

By John Lynds

john@eastietimes.com

Planners of East Boston new state-of-the-art library unveiled their plans to the community at a special meeting held by the Boston Public Library Board of Trustees at the Meridian Street branch last Thursday.

The Boston Public Library Board of Trustees during the special meeting at the Meridian Street branch last Thursday.

The new library is slated to be constructed on adjacent to the Bremen Street Park on a piece of land formerly owned by NStar. The 14,600 square foot, $11.3 million library will be designed by the same team responsible for the new Mattapan branch finished last year where architects from William Rawn Associates created an up-too-date library facilities, an open reading room, and an outdoor courtyard configuration. The sustainable building merges indoor and outdoor spaces and had redefined the experience of the library there.

In Eastie, William L. Rawn III, founder of the firm, said the location and design of the new library will aim to link the building to the rest of the community.

“We want this building to have a visibility and prominence in the neighborhood,” said Rawn. “We also want it to to feel accessible to the broad citizenship that lives in East Boston.”

Rawn said the location of the library, on the 18-acre Bremen Street Park, is ideal because of its central location as well as its ability to be accessed by both Airport and Wood Island MBTA stations.

Construction will begin in spring of 2012 and end in the summer of 2013 with the branch opening in late summer or early fall of 2013.

There was some controversy following the BPL Board of Trustees’ decision to close the Orient Heights Branch Library before another library was constructed.

However, after a special meeting by the Board of Trustees and threats from the state legislature to withhold BPL funding unless they kept libraries open, the Board approved a recommendation to delay the planned closure of the Orient Heights Branch.

The recommendation to keep Orient Heights and three other library branches in the city open was brought to the Board of Trustees by Boston Public Library President Amy E. Ryan and included news of additional City of Boston funds earmarked for the library in FY11, which begins on July 1, 2010. She said the move was to provide the city with more time for planning the re-purposing of the buildings and the delivery of library services in the affected communities.

“We’ve been listening to the community and we understand the desire for more planning time,” said Ryan of the decision. “This extension demonstrates the commitment of the City to keep these facilities open and accessible to the community. We believe that, with continued input from the public, a new use for these buildings can be found.”

In response to the proposed closure, Representative Carlo Basile lead a delegation of twelve state representatives to block $3 million in funding to the Boston Public Library unless its Board of Trustees agrees to keep all 26 branches in the city open.

While there is no timeline for its closure, the Orient Heights branch will most likely close in spring 2011 and an immediate public process will begin to fill the vacant building.

There’s already been talk of a child day care center or senior center at the location.

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