Boston Branch Libraries Worth Saving

Filed in Featured, Local News by on March 26, 2010 0 Comments
South End Library in Boston

South End Library in Boston ©

Today the Globe did a write up on Boston’s Local Branch libraries and how some of them could be closed due to budget issues.  I had already been planning to do a post on this because as someone who grew up in the South End of Boston I can attest to the difference a local library can make in the development of a child.

I grew up in the Cathedral Housing Development in the South End.  There wasn’t any money to buy books at the bookstore.  I don’t think I even knew you could buy them or where.

When my sisters and I were very young my mother started to bring us to the South End Library on Tremont Street.  The picture in the post was taken this past weekend.  Thankfully it is still there.  I have often thought of the library because I love books.  My love of books began there in the children’s section in the back where I would borrow kids sports stories.  I was a bit of a tom boy back then.

Occasionally we would go to the main library in Copley Square.  It was considered a big treat even though it is quite walkable from the South End but for children that is not really the case.  I grew up to love learning and it began in the pages of the books that I borrowed at the South End Public Library.  For kids from families with limited means it is a free resource that takes them away from the TV into the world of learning and imagination that is only available with books.  I still remember the awe and fascination I felt reading the Chronicles of Narnia.

Similar to the girl in the story written by the Globe I got into a test school(Boston Latin) which led to a scholarship at BU.  I was on the path to being a strong contributor to society and the economy.  The children truly are the future of this country, this state and this city.  Closing down these smaller local libraries will make it much harder for the disadvantaged to help advance themselves.  Even as an adult the libraries offer free resources that are needed particularly in economically challenging times.  As an example, the Adam Street Library in Dorchester is regularly used for job hunters who can not afford computers or internet access.

As the City of Boston looks at possible closings of these libraries I hope that as the article says they look at the “intangibles” of all 26 branches.  There is more to it than the numbers and making some creative changes can make them more valuable to the city and its residents.  The BPL Neighborhood Services Initiative is a good foundation to target where the neighborhood libraries can benefit their local residents.

More information on the protest to the closing of the libraries and possible alternative can be found at

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