Editorial: Library work is overdue

March 16, 2012
By

If the renovation and expansion plan for the Jamaica Plain Branch Library were one of the library’s books, the City of Boston would be facing a heck of an overdue fee.

The needs of the busy branch are obvious. Not so obvious are the reasons the City keeps ducking the project.

The original improvement plan was torpedoed several years ago amid an obscure political grudge match between the mayor and a former Boston Public Library director. It stalled further during the BPL’s disingenuous attempt to kill off several branch libraries.

Now it is poised to stall again as the BPL tosses the branch a $125,000 fix-up bone under the pretense that even more research needs to be done on the branch’s long-term future. The new money is welcome, but is also an admission of larger needs and a symptom of erratic, politicized decision-making.

Money is tight these days. But in the meantime, the Curtis Hall Community Center right next door has received a multi-million-dollar renovation.

The library is cramped and crumbling. You can’t even enter without nearly stepping on toddlers playing insecurely just inside the main door. It needs more than a facelift.

There must be some reason for not fully renovating the JP Branch, but it doesn’t involve a lack of need or, apparently, a lack of funds. It’s beyond time to get this project done.