Boston tore down its public library branch in 1956, to make way for a highway. It remains the only neighborhood that lacks a library branch. Bear in mind that East Boston has a gleaming new library and Jamaica Plain is re-opening its library this year after a $10 million renovation.
I’m hopefully optimistic that the city will act. The City commissioned a feasibility study and Mayor Walsh highlighted the need for a Chinatown library in his State of the City address in January. He also wrote an op-ed in Sampan, in which he was unequivocal:
“There is one community that has been without any library services for far too long and, after much discussion and planning, I am proud to announce that we will finally be bringing library services back to the Chinatown neighborhood.”
Then again, his predecessor, Mayor Menino, also commissioned a feasibility study and nothing ever came of that. Still, the city at least intend to be build a temporary library in the China Trade Center, pledging to open by the end of the ear. They’ve gone to bid for construction.
Today, I joined the Friends of the Chinatown Library to advocate for the neighborhood library. Because, as Walsh wrote in his op-ed, “Libraries symbolize our progress and potential. How we use our past, history and information to move forward, learn and grow. All of Boston’s residents, regardless of neighborhood, deserve the opportunity to do just that. So just as libraries have played a major role in our City’s past, they will continue to be important long into our future.”