The City of Boston has set the date for the opening of the new East Boston branch library for Saturday, November 2, at 11 a.m. Construction of the new 14,600 square foot, $17.25 million began in the spring 2012 and will be located at the corner of Bremen and Prescott Streets facing the Bremen Street Park.
In order to prepare for the opening of the new branch library facility, the two existing Boston Public Library (BPL) branches in Eastie will have staggered ends to their public service hours in September and October.
The final day of public service at the Orient Heights Branch, located at 18 Barnes Avenue, will be Friday, September 6. Service hours will end at 5 p.m. that day.
The final day of public service at the current East Boston Branch, located at 276 Meridian Street, will be Friday, October 4. Service hours will end at 5 p.m. that day.
“During the month of September, Orient Heights Branch users are encouraged to use the current East Boston Branch,” the BPL’s website read. “During the month of October, all East Boston residents are encouraged to use any of Boston Public Library’s other locations throughout the city, including the West End Branch at 151 Cambridge Street, located near the Bowdoin stop of the MBTA’s Blue Line.”
Books, CDs, and DVDs will be moved from the existing East Boston branches and blended in with thousands of new items purchased specifically for the new Bremen Street location. Library staff will work in the new facility throughout the month of October in preparation for the November 2 public opening.
The new branch will serve the entire community with more than double the combined public space of the two branches currently operating in East Boston. Both the Meridian Street and Orient Heights Branches will close once the new branch opens.
The project includes an open-plan community reading room with spectacular views of the park and the downtown Boston skyline. The brand-new facility boasts dedicated areas for adults, children, and teens, in addition to a quiet reading room, conference room, and community space for multipurpose programs. A reading porch runs the length of the building along the park, providing outdoor space for reading, congregating, and using the wireless Internet network, a feature of all Boston Public Library locations.
In March it was announced that some of the proceeds from the City’s sale of general obligation bonds would help fund the new library. Boston sold $232.1 million of general obligation bonds to secure an interest rate of 2.46 percent to fund $122 million in new capital projects that included the new Eastie library.
Last year Eastie was put on a waitlist for state funding to build the new, state-of-the-art library. However, Mayor Thomas Menino decided to go forward with the plan and said the city would foot the bill if state funding did not become a reality. The city applied for a grant of $8 million to help defer the $11.3 million price tag on the new Eastie library from the Massachusetts Board Library Commissioners (MBLC). In July 2011, the MBLC announced that the Eastie project was placed 15th on a wait list of 15 other cities and towns seeking money from the board. Menino said he would remain committed to see that the project gets done with or without state funding.
The new library is being designed by William Rawn Associates. William Rawn Associates is the same team responsible for the new Mattapan branch finished last year. There, architects from William Rawn Associates created an up-to-date library facility, 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. Architects Mark Oldham and Carla Ceruzzi have designed a sleek non-linear building with a wave-like roof, open floor plans, huge windows that overlook the Bremen Street Park and outdoor classroom and reading spaces.