BOSTON – October 19, 2021 – Mayor Kim Janey and the Boston Public Library (BPL) today announced a Community Celebration event will be held on Saturday, October 23rd for the recently renovated Roxbury Branch. The Roxbury Branch in Nubian Square (formerly Dudley) underwent a $17.2 million, 27,000 square foot renovation that began in November 2017 and was completed in October 2020. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the community was not able to come together and fully celebrate the completion of the new building until now. The BPL and the City of Boston will present a handful of interactive, family-friendly activities in partnership with the Boston Book Festival. These activities are made possible with the support of the Wagner Foundation.
The event’s schedule includes:
11:00AM: Chalk Art with Zahirah Nur Truth
- Families are invited to join visual artist and art educator Zahirah Nur Truth for a participatory chalk art activity to help make the new Roxbury Branch in Nubian Square even more beautiful.
12:00PM: Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony with Mayor Kim Janey
- To celebrate the newly remodeled and reopened Roxbury Branch in Nubian Square, Mayor Kim Janey will host a ribbon-cutting ceremony and offer remarks about the role of the library in the Roxbury community.
1:00PM: Boston Education Activism tour with METCO
- Community members are welcome to celebrate the new Nubian Square headquarters for Boston’s METCO Program by taking a Boston Education Activism Tour (BEAT) of Nubian Square. High school students in METCO will take participants on a journey into Boston’s past to uncover the dynamic history of the Black community in Roxbury. These young people will use Nubian Square’s landmarks, from the Dillaway-Thomas House to Hibernian Hall, to uncover the stories of decades of artistry, activism, and achievement. The tour will culminate at the brand new Nubian Square headquarters of METCO itself, whose founding story has many lessons for today.
1:00PM: Dream Street Story Time with Tricia Elam Walker & Ekua Holmes
- Families are invited to join authors Tricia Elam Walker and artist Ekua Holmes— both Roxbury natives– while they read their forthcoming picture book Dream Street, a love letter to growing up in this vibrant Boston neighborhood.
The programming, design and construction of the Roxbury Branch of the Boston Public Library in Nubian Square was managed by the City of Boston’s Public Facilities Department, with consultation from the Mayor’s Office of Arts & Culture, and architecture firm Utile, Inc. It was designed with the input of Nubian Square residents and the wider Roxbury community, and recently won an ALA/AIA Library Building Award. The renovation completely reimagined the space, including a new welcome area overlooking the redesigned plaza; improved visibility and openness; dedicated spaces for patrons of all ages – including a brand-new children’s corner; a prominently featured African-American collection space; a nutrition lab and a learning lab; a community room with state-of-the-art technology; new computer workspaces; and more. To learn more about the renovation and history of the Roxbury Branch in Nubian Square, please visit bpl.org/news.
Additionally, King Boston is expected to have its local Roxbury Office at the Roxbury Branch later this year. The Benjamin Franklin Institute of Technology (BFIT) offers office hours at the branch where their staff provides information on technical and trade programs, financial aid, and career options to patrons and students of BFIT. The office hours take place on Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. The branch also has two long-term public art projects funded by the City's Percent for Art Program that are currently in the works. One is an original artwork by Joe Wardwell, in collaboration with local poet Nakia Hill and youth writers at the YLab at 826 Boston, that will be completely installed in November; and the second commission is an artwork by Jeremy "Sobek" Harrison and is currently in the design phase.
The City’s FY22 budget includes major renovations to the Roslindale and Faneuil branches, design for a reimagining of the Fields Corner Branch, continued repair, renovation and master planning projects at the Central Library in Copley Square, planning activities for the Upham’s Corner and Chinatown Branches, and programming studies at the Codman Square, West End, and Egleston Square branches. These projects include community engagement to gain input, feedback, and insight from patrons and local organizations. More information on these additional projects can be found at apps.boston.gov/capital-projects.