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Groundbreaking held for $18.3m renovation of Adams Street Branch Library

The event celebrated the start of construction for the renovated Adams Street branch, an $18.3 million collaborative development.

Mayor Martin J. Walsh, along with the City's Chief of Operations Patrick Brophy, Boston Public Library president David Leonard, and members of the community gathered yesterday to celebrate the groundbreaking of the renovated Adams Street Branch of the Boston Public Library. The event celebrated the start of construction for the renovated Adams Street branch, an $18.3 million collaborative development including the City of Boston Public Facilities Department and the Boston Public Library, in partnership with NADAAA Architects and J and J Contractors Inc.

"Our public libraries represent our shared values. The investments we are making in our neighborhood libraries are a direct reflection of the love of libraries that I see and hear from our residents," said Mayor Walsh. "If you go to any branch library in the city after school, you will see children from all different backgrounds reading books, asking questions, doing projects, and exploring worlds of imagination and information. They're finding material to build their dreams with, and I'm proud that we're creating new spaces for them to do exactly that."  

The Adams Street Branch opened in its current location in 1951 as one of six branches in Dorchester, but until now, had seen limited capital investment since its establishment. A 2016 feasibility study, undertaken by the BPL, the Public Facilities Department, the community, and the design team helped identify the community's goals and priorities for the renovation, such as transparency, inclusion, and access.  

New amenities in the Adams Street Branch will include updated technology, expanded program space, and high-performance, sustainable systems. Enhancements over the former library will include a more accessible front door, easier access to library collections, a larger Community Room, new study and conference rooms, and a music room.

The future Adams Street Branch doubles the size of the current branch, and will also include: 

  • Easier access to the library collections
  • A new music practice room
  • A mid-size conference room in addition to the Community Room
  • A teen space with seating and places to work in groups or alone
  • A "tween space" for middle school-aged children 
  • A children's section with spaces for story time and crafts, a room for nursing mothers, and a separate washroom.

The building landscape is planned as a tribute to the 20th century Adams Street Branch and is a sustainable, low-maintenance green space. At the southern edge, along Delmont Avenue, the building splits to draw additional light into the Adult and Children's sections, as well as creating a rain garden will absorb much of the roof's run-off. On the northern side, along Oakton Avenue, a great heritage Pin Oak will remain, and the Reading Garden will be recreated with expanded seating and space for outdoor programs.

"The Friends of the Adams Street Branch Library along with members of the community are excited about today's groundbreaking," said Grace Hebard, president of the Friends of the Adams Street Branch Library. "We would like to thank Mayor Walsh and the Boston Public Library for this significant investment in this neighborhood treasure. We appreciate the process that allowed us to give input into the design of the new library, and look forward to our continued involvement through construction and beyond." 

The Adams Street Branch Library will close at the end of service on Friday, July 12, 2019. Library services will continue at the Fields Corner and Lower Mills branches. The Lower Mills branch will reopen on Saturday, July 13, following a $226,000 renovation, including replacement of the Borrowers Service desk and flooring, along with painting throughout the branch.

These renovations represent a significant investment in the City's branch libraries as part of Mayor Walsh's capital budget. The Mayor's capital plan includes a $127 million investment in Boston's library system, including a $12.6 million renovation at the Faneuil Branch Library and $10.2 million renovation at the Roslindale Branch Library; programming studies for the West End, Codman Square and Uphams Corner branches; a comprehensive $17.2 million building renovation at the Dudley Branch Library; finalization of a programming study for a new Fields Corner Branch Library; and a $15.7 million renovation project at the Central Library in Copley Square, which will enhance the preservation of BPL's historic special collections. 

Rendering of the future Adams Street Branch of the Boston Public Library.

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