The North End Branch Library is staying open. In a dramatic meeting at the Copley Library this morning, the Boston Public Library put forth three options to resolve its $3 million budget gap, all of which keep the North End Branch Library open. The West End Branch is also staying open. However, one of the options could severely cut the hours at all branches.
These are the 3 proposals issued by BPL President Amy Ryan:
Option 1 – Close 7 branches including Egleston Square, Faneuil, Jamaica Plain, Lower Mills, Orient Heights, Uphams Corner and Washington Village. The remaining 22 branches would EXPAND their existing hours.
Option 2 – Close 4 branches including Faneuil, Lower Mills, Orient Heights and Washington Village. The remaining branches would keep their existing hours. BPL President Ryan personally endorsed this option.
Option 3 – Keep all 26 branches open and severely cut hours at all locations, except the nine “lead” libraries (the North End is not classified as a lead library).
The BPL Board of Trustees will vote on the options on Friday, April 9th. Then, the budget goes to City Hall. The Mayor will present it on April 14th to the City Council.
The Globe has a useful map/graphic identifying each of the library locations.
Editor’s view: The scenarios are less drastic than feared and good news for both the North End and West End branches. Let’s remember though, this was a close call. A 10-branch closure option could have been very bad news for the North End Branch. The outpouring of letters and neighborhood support certainly played a positive role. It is unfortunate, however, that such a small budget gap would lead to the closure of any branches. In my view, the money situation should be separate from the “what’s best for the BPL/public” issue. There are many ways the City could make up the balance, including from its reserves. It may make sense to close some branches that are not working well, but that is a different issue than the budget gap. At the meeting, for example, some expressed disappointment that Orient Heights in East Boston was proposed to be closed. Its location would imply a need in that neighborhood. However, the branch is very small with low usage. President Ryan thought a new plan was needed for East Boston that could even include a new library branch.
North End Branch Library – By The Numbers
Nine City Council Members Send Letter Urging Against Library Closings
Bad News in Mayor’s Response to Library Letters
Friends of the NE Branch Library Present at NEWRA Meeting