The South End Library Capital Campaign: Writing the Next Chapter will raise funds to make the dramatic improvements needed to support the 21st-century needs of South End library users. The library has been allocated $132,000 in the FY 2018 Boston Public Library budget for the first of its five-phased renovation plan. The first two phases will focus on immediate improvements of the downstairs, with a complete update of electrical and communications systems, a reconfiguration of space to include a teen area, new carpeting and painting. For this phase, FOSEL has committed to raising an additional $50,000 privately by October of this year to ensure the best results for the urgently needed reconfiguration and upgrade. More private funding will be raised for Phase Two, the completion of which is illustrated by the proposed design below. The design is subject to final BPL Project Management approval, with input from library staff. The final three phases will be a much larger project that will involve public meetings and a considerably larger budget to accommodate a much-needed expansion of the library's footprint.
The library's building, an early example of the work by the firm of Mitchell/Giurgola Architects LLP, has architectural significance and will likely require various preservation efforts.
Because this is the first time a Boston public branch library has raised private funding for a capital renovation, FOSEL is in the process of establishing an Honorary Fundraising Committee that reflects public and private support for the public/private partnership efforts. The Committee currently includes David Leonard, President of the Boston Public Library; State Treasurer Deb Goldberg; State Senator Sonia Chang-Diaz; State Representatives Byron Rushing and Aaron Michlewitz; At-large City Councillors Michael Flaherty, Ayanna Pressley and Annissa Essaibi George; City Council President Michelle Wu; District Councillor Frank Baker; John Holland of Holland Construction Companies and South End realtor Steven Cohen. We hope to add a few more names of supporters.
The overall changes for the proposed first two phases include 1. opening up the adult area to enhance clear sight lines for library staff; 2. moving computers for adult use to the back of the adult room; 3. line the window areas with book shelves for browsing; 4. moving the circulation desk to the left of the entrance formats current location on the right; 5. creating a Teen Space next to the Young Adult book section; 6. designing a community seating area next to the entrance, with an adjacent periodical section; 7. establishing a small, flexible conference room for tutoring, workshops and consulting; 8. reconfiguring the entrance to free more interior space near the circulation desk for a natural traffic flow; 9. delineating space featuring the library's remarkable South End history collection (current history archives will remain on the second floor); 10. a completely refurbished Children's Room, with computers lining one wall.