Letter: JP Library deserves renovation

March 16, 2012
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Please help to bring about the renovation and expansion of our Jamaica Plain Branch Library building on Sedgwick Street. In October 2011, we celebrated its 100th anniversary.  We should not have to wait another 100 years for it to be renovated and expanded.

In 2006, the city published a study and master plan. It concluded, among other things, that the Jamaica Plain Branch is largely unchanged since its construction about 95 years ago; it lacks basic accessibility features; the children’s area is small and is the main traffic pathway for the branch; the rooms are cramped with equipment, shelving, and library materials; it has no dedicated young adult area; and computer access points are insufficient. The master plan included a final design concept for the renovation. Now, six years later, the city still has not allocated the capital funding needed.

I joined the board of the Friends of the Jamaica Plain Branch Library last spring. Since then, I have visited 15 of the City’s 26 branch libraries. The Honan/Allston, Hyde Park, Mattapan and West Roxbury Branch library buildings are palaces. At the other end of the scale are the Jamaica Plain Branch and two others, all three buildings needing extensive renovations and expansion. Most of the branches I visited have considerably more space; are fully handicapped-accessible have a young adult section; and have a children’s room that is much larger than that of the Jamaica Plain branch and that is not the main traffic pathway for the interior.

Even with all its problems, the Jamaica Plain Branch consistently has had and has one of the highest branch library circulation rates.

Mayor Menino and the City Council will soon be making their final decisions on projects to include in the fiscal year 2013 capital budget.  That budget should include funds to renovate and expand our Jamaica Plain Branch Library.

I ask for your help to get funding for this project. Please call and email Mayor Menino and the city councilors and ask them to include funding for the renovation and expansion of the Jamaica Plain Branch in the FY 2013 capital budget.

Peg Moloney

Friends of the Jamaica Plain Branch Library

Jamaica Plain