Brandon Abbs, an advocate for the Egleston branch library in Roxbury, is forming a new city-wide organization to support all Boston public library Friends groups. Called People of Boston Branches, the alliance hopes to unite disparate groups in a single voice representing all the branches and their users, and connect with community organizations. Abbs, a former Iowa City resident, currently a post-doctoral psychology fellow at Brigham and Women's Hospital and Jamaica Plain resident, was already coordinating efforts to bring together the branches and is the administrator of the Facebook group "Say NO to Branch Closings of the Boston Public Library", which was started by two other Jamaica Plain residents. This group has gone from 2 members to 342 members in the space of 30 hours and will serve as the main line of communication for the group.
People of Boston Branches offers both short-term and long-term funding and organizational solutions to the problems faced by the Boston Public Libraries. In the short-term it will push city officials to release $3.6M from city reserves, as proposed by City Councilors Chuck Turner and Felix Arroyo last Saturday.
At the state and federal level, it will push for Federal Recovery Act funds to be released to fund the educational efforts of the BPL and save the jobs of the librarians and library workers at both the branches and the Central Library. Over the long-term the group will begin fundraising efforts to protect and enhance branch resources as well as help the Friends organize volunteer programs to assist in the work at the libraries. People of Boston Branches hopes to meet with BPL trustees and President Amy Ryan to develop a plan for enriching our libraries, not cutting them.