Mayor Martin J. Walsh today joined David Leonard, President of the Boston Public Library, elected officials and community members to celebrate the kick-off of a $14.7 million renovation of the Dudley Branch of the Boston Public Library. The renovation of the Roxbury library will require a temporary closure of the branch at the end of library hours on Friday, November 17, with plans to reopen in spring 2020.
“The Dudley Branch Library has been well-loved and well-used for almost 40 years,” said Mayor Walsh. “People in the community have grown up with this library, and members of all ages use their great programming. This renovation will expand the library’s capacity to foster new learning and growth opportunity for more people of the community, for many more years to come.”
Under the leadership of Mayor Walsh, the renovation project is a collaboration between the Boston Public Library, the City of Boston’s Public Facilities Department, and the Mayor’s Office of Arts & Culture. The architecture firm is Utile, Inc., which has been with the project through design and also worked on the original programming study completed in 2013.
“We are very grateful to the community for their advocacy and participation that has informed the very thorough redesign process for our beloved Dudley Branch. This renovation will deliver a revitalized updated library for the neighborhood, giving library users enriching educational and cultural resources and services in the heart of the Dudley neighborhood,” said Boston Public Library President David Leonard.
“The renovation to the Dudley Branch Library is a key investment for the Dudley Square and Roxbury community. It is reflective of Mayor Walsh’s continuing commitment to the Dudley Square neighborhood, and libraries throughout the City,” said Boston Public Facilities Director Tricia Lyons. “We are thankful for the Community’s passion and the collaborative efforts with the BPL, as we start construction on this exciting project, which will transform the library branch for its users.”
Highlights of the renovation include moving the branch’s entrance to create a more prominent welcome area with an awning and terrace facing Dudley Street that will overlook a fully redesigned plaza. These renovations will improve visibility to open up the library with new transparent glass walls. In addition, a range of interior improvements will enhance community space, including a new nutrition lab, dedicated space for children, teens and adults, a learning lab, refreshed collections, an upgraded multi-purpose room with audio visual technology, newly commissioned public art through the City’s Percent for Art Program, an African American collection and more.
The branch will be fully accessible with a new elevator, as well as enhanced technology for hearing impaired patrons. A new roof, windows, insulation, and modernized HVAC and lighting will significantly reduce the building’s energy consumption and carbon footprint.
“I started coming to this library when my daughter was a little girl and with my son – over forty years ago,” said Candelaria Silva-Collins, Program Manager for the Fellowes Athenaeum Trust Fund and Dudley Branch user. “The branch is a highlight of this community, and a beacon of the neighborhood.”
Collections may be returned to the Dudley Branch up until Friday, November 17 at 5 p.m. Following the closure museum passes and holds on items can be picked up at the Grove Hall Branch at 41 Geneva Avenue in Dorchester. During the temporary closure, Dudley Branch patrons are encouraged to use any of the Boston Public Library’s other locations throughout the city. Information regarding relocated programming and services will be posted on the Boston Public Library website when it is finalized.
The Dudley Branch opened its doors in its current location in 1978, replacing both the Mount Pleasant Branch and the privately endowed Fellowes Athenaeum. Recurring branch programming includes story times and preschool films, ESL Conversation Groups, cooking club and anime club for teens, author talks, and dedicated events funded through the Fellowes Athenaeum Trust fund, which will continue in alternate locations during the temporary closure.
The project is funded in part through a grant from the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners.
The Boston Mayor’s Office of Arts and Culture (MOAC) released the City’s first cultural plan, Boston Creates, in 2016, calling for increased support to Boston’s arts and culture ecosystem. The Percent for Art Program is a critical policy outcome of this 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 in their communities.
The Percent for Art Program demonstrates the City’s leadership and commitment to sustainable funding for the arts by setting aside one percent of the City’s annual capital borrowing budget for the commissioning of public art. The Percent for Art Program is administered by the Mayor’s Office of Arts and Culture and the Boston Art Commission (BAC), in collaboration with the Office of Budget Management, the Public Facilities Department, and other City departments.
In addition to the Dudley Branch renovation in FY18, Mayor Martin J. Walsh is investing $102 million in funding for library projects slated for FY19-FY22. Most major renovations or new construction projects undergo a programming, design, and construction phase, which always include significant community engagement to gain input, feedback, and insight from users. More information on the Dudley Branch renovation and additional projects can be viewed via www.bpl.org/branchcapitalprojects.
About 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 bpl.org.