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Jamaica Plain Branch Library reopens following $10 million renovation

May 20, 2017

Boston Public Library

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The $10 million renovation revitalizes the branch services and spaces, including a 20 percent increase in space for the community to read, browse the collection, access computers, attend and host meetings, and participate in programming.

Mayor Martin J. Walsh, members of the Boston Public Library and the City of Boston's Public Facilities Department today celebrated the reopening of the Jamaica Plain Branch at 30 South Street with a ribbon cutting ceremony that was attended by community members and elected officials. The $10 million renovation revitalizes the branch services and spaces, including a 20 percent increase in space for the community to read, browse the collection, access computers, attend and host meetings, and participate in programming.

Reaffirming Mayor Walsh's commitment to bringing quality library services to neighborhoods throughout the City, nearly $14 million in library projects are planned across the city as part of the Mayor's Capital Plan in FY18 and an additional $102 million in funding for library projects is slated for FY19-FY22.

"Libraries are essential resources for neighborhoods, and it is important that we continue investing in them to improve access, add services, and build a strong sense of community," said Mayor Walsh. "The Jamaica Plain library branch is the second busiest in our BPL library system, after the Central Library, and it is exciting that with the expansion we'll now be able to accommodate even more visitors. As the first project under the City's Percent for Art program, we're excited to start integrating arts and culture into our public facilities, and look forward to the future projects across the City that will enhance our libraries."

"We are thrilled to reopen the Jamaica Plain Branch and provide a transformed building and services to community members that inspire intercultural and intergenerational connections.  Once again the library will be the center of civic life at the corner of South and Sedgwick streets," said Evelyn Arana-Ortiz, Vice Chair of the Board Public Library's Board of Trustees.

"The success of this renovation is a tribute to collaboration between the City of Boston's Offices of Public Facilities Department, Budget Management, Library staff and the Architects and Construction partners, and especially the longstanding advocacy of the Friends of the JP Library, and we are confident this newly renovated space will serve lifelong learners, today and well into the future," said David Leonard, President of the Boston Public Library.

The renovation features a 700-square foot addition facing South Street that will serve as a community reading lounge; a terrace along Sedgwick Street where residents can read and mingle; multiple meeting spaces; improved and more flexible space for children, teens, and adults; and a refreshed collection of 30,000 items. Technology improvements include 15 new desktop and 20 laptop computers, free WiFi, additional self-checkout stations, creativity software in the new digital maker-space, and hearing loop technology for people with hearing loss. Other features include an elevator for full ADA accessibility to all levels, new and more efficient mechanical systems, parking for over 15 bikes, and new exterior landscaping.

Mayor Walsh recently announced a Request for Proposals (RFP) for a public art project at the Jamaica Plain Branch, the first call for artists under the new Percent for Art Program, first announced with the release of the City of Boston's cultural plan,Boston Creates. The Percent for Art program is a critical policy outcome of the planning process and addresses Goal 4 of the plan: to integrate arts and culture into all aspects of civic life, inspiring all Bostonians to value, practice and reap the benefits of creativity in their individual lives and their communities. Through the Percent for Art Program, the City will invest $1.7 million in public art projects in FY18, one percent of the City's planned borrowing for the year.

The Jamaica Plain Branch hours are Monday through Wednesday from 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.Thursday from 12 - 8 p.m., and Friday and Saturday from 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. Community members are encouraged to follow the Jamaica Plain Branch Facebook page or online calendar for information on upcoming programs and events.

Boston Public Library, the City of Boston's Public Facilities Department, and Utile, Inc. Architecture & Planning, the design firm for the project, collaborated closely with the Friends of the Jamaica Plain Branch Library and the community at-large to design a renovated library that fulfills the needs of library patrons and visitors. The general contractor for the project is Colantonio, Inc.

Most major renovations or new construction projects undergo a programming, design, and construction phase, including significant community engagement to gain input, feedback, and insight from users. Follow progress on these projects via Images of the renovated branch are available upon request.

About the Boston Public Library

Boston Public Library has a Central Library, twenty-four branches, map center, business library, and a website filled with digital content and services. Established in 1848, the Boston Public Library has pioneered public library service in America. It was the first large free municipal library in the United States, the first public library to lend books, the first to have a branch library, and the first to have a children's room. Each year, the Boston Public Library hosts thousands of programs and serves millions of people. All of its programs and exhibitions are free and open to the public. At the Boston Public Library, books are just the beginning. To learn more, visit