BOSTON – December 1, 2021 – Mayor Michelle Wu and the Boston Public Library (BPL) today announced the completion of the renovation of the Roslindale branch of the BPL. The branch underwent an $11.7 million, 14,855 square foot renovation that began in October, 2019. The programming, design and construction of the branch was managed by the City of Boston’s Public Facilities Department, with consultation from the Mayor’s Office of Arts & Culture and architecture firm Leers Weinzapfel Associates.
The branch will open for in-person service on December 4th, and the community is invited to attend a ribbon cutting and celebration at 11am with Mayor Michelle Wu. The celebration will include a speaking program, mariachi music, hot chocolate and crafts for kids.
“Our branch libraries are neighborhood treasures—as hubs of learning and community. I live just down the street from the Roslindale branch library, and we can’t wait to take our kids to celebrate its reopening with all our neighbors,” said Mayor Michelle Wu. “The renovation is a true reflection of our community—and I can’t wait for our families to have this space to meet, read, learn, and play once more.”
The 14,855 square foot renovation added an additional 4,205 square feet of usable space to the branch. It was designed with feedback from the Roslindale community, modernizing the space and making it more accessible, while still paying homage to the building’s unique blue coloring and circular interior. The first floor now includes a dedicated teen space, study rooms, a conference room, a quiet reading room, and a 100-person community room. The children’s area features an early literacy space, and the adult area features a laptop bar along the front windows with views out to Roslindale Square. On the exterior, the new front entrance improved access with a sloped walkway on the interior, and the building also features updated accessibility features including universal access at the front entry, wheelchair accessible computers, tables, and service desk, and t-coil enabled assistive listening systems. In addition, the renovation allowed for the creation of an outdoor reading terrace, with seating and plantings.
The BPL originally opened a book delivery station in Roslindale on Florence Street in 1878, which was then relocated to a drugstore at the corner of Washington and Ashland Streets in 1898. In 1900, the branch opened in Old Taft's Tavern building, and moved to a municipal building at the corner of Washington Street and Cummins Highway in 1918. The Roslindale branch moved to its current location in 1961, and is housed in a building designed by Isidor Richmond and Carny Goldberg.
For the safety of staff and patrons, when visiting the library, patrons must wear a mask over their nose and mouth, regardless of vaccination status, and are not permitted to eat or drink in indoor library spaces. Initial public service hours for the branch will be Monday–Wednesday: 10am-6pm, Thursday: 12-8pm, Friday: 9-5pm.
“Before its renovation, the Roslindale Branch was one of our busiest locations, and we look forward to welcoming the community back into this revitalized, expanded and yet still unique mid-twentieth century space,” said BPL President David Leonard. “Opening the doors of the Roslindale Branch once again will connect the community with the library’s essential services, as well as providing safe and joyful spaces for our patrons.”
The City’s FY22 budget includes major renovations to the Faneuil branch; 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 underway 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.