The Jamaica Plain Branch Library building was the first structure built by the City of Boston for use as a branch library. Today, in terms of circulation, the Jamaica Plain Branch is often the most heavily used branch of the 26 branches, even though many other branches are housed in larger and newer buildings, have more library staff and are open more hours each week.
Since 2004 dozens of individuals in the Jamaica Plain community have volunteered and invested hundreds of hours of their time toward the goal of achieving a comprehensive renovation and expansion of the Jamaica Plain Branch Library. These efforts began by obtaining over 1,200 petition signatures in support of this goal and continued with the completion of a Task Force Expansion Study in conjunction with the City’s Property and Construction Management Department and the Boston Public Library.
On December 7, 2006, the Jamaica Plain Branch Library Expansion Study was published by the City of Boston Property & Construction Management Department. The complete master plan can be viewed at http://www.bpl.org/branches/final%20report.pdf
In that study the following was stated:
--While it has received some improvements over the years, the library is largely unchanged since the construction about 95 years ago.
--The library lacks basic accessibility features expected of all public buildings.
--The children’s area is small, lacks space for associated children’s programming, and is the main traffic pathway for the branch.
--The large collection and reading rooms on the main floor are…cramped with equipment,shelving, and library materials.
--The central problem of the library is its small size with a floor area of only 10,200 square feet—almost half of which is not available for library programming—it is too small to serve thefunctions expected of it.
--The adult collections lack comfortable reading areas, and there is not a dedicated young adults area.
--Computer access points are insufficient.
A final proposed design concept was presented in the December 2006 report. It is now 2012, and the City has still not allocated the capital funding needed to renovate our branch.
Mayor Menino and the City Council will soon be making their final decisions on projects to include in the fiscal year 2013 capital budget; that budget should include funds to renovate and expand the Jamaica Plain Branch Library. We need your help to advocate for our branch and this project. Please sign our peition to Mayor Menino and the City Councilors and ask them to include funding and make the renovation and expansion of the Jamaica Plain Branch Library a priority in the FY 2013 capital budget.