BPL Parker Hill Branch closing, some programming relocating

July 7, 2017
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Boston Public Library’s (BPL) Parker Hill Branch closed its doors on July 1 and will be undergoing renovations until June 2018. A limited amount of programming and services that the library normally holds will be spread out among various different locations in the area starting in September.

“We are doing everything we can to accommodate the most in-demand services during the renovation,” said Rosemary Lavery, public relations associate at BPL.

There was a low turnout of about 10 people at a June 13 BPL update meeting compared to the previous meeting in May, which had about 30 attendees. Top priorities that residents expressed concern about were access to the libraries collections and books, computer use, homework help programs, adult lectures and programs, and museum pass pick-ups.

Computer use will be available at the Tobin Community Center, which is next door to the library, and at Northeastern Crossing, which is a public space at Northeastern University. Self pick-up of holds will be at Roxbury Community College, or the closest BPL location. Museum passes will be available at the Egleston Square Branch library.

Homework help and storytime will be held once a week at a to-be-determined location in the fall. BPL also said there will also be a book club and pop-up library once a month, but do not have more logistical details on those yet.

Attendees at the June 13 meeting also requested that the piano be preserved during the renovations.

Residents are advised to visit the Central Library in Copley Square during the closure, or any other BPL branch library. The Dudley Library is the next closest library, but is not a long-term alternative location as it is scheduled to close in the fall for renovations. Both libraries in Roxbury will be closed at the same time.

Other community resources available for use during the Parker Hill Branch’s closure are Tobin Community Center, Mission Hill Health Movement, Roxbury Community College, Reggie Lewis Center, and Partners Health Shuttle.

The library does not have a finalized schedule of programming, and is expected to release more concrete details about programming in August 2017.

The $2.4 million renovation project will involve window replacement, interior painting, plaster, stair, and masonry repairs, and waterproofing.

The Parker Hill Branch began in 1907 as a small reading room at a storefront at 1518 Tremont St. The 10,200-square-foot, two-story Gothic building was designed by the famed architect Ralph Adams Cram. It became an official BPL branch in 1924 and moved to its present location at 1497 Tremont St. when Mayor James Michael Curley opened the building in 1931.

The library was closed for a year in 2005 to undergo a renovation, including installing a ramp and elevator, to make the building handicap accessible. A few years before that, the Friends of Historic Mission Hill filed a petition with the Boston Landmarks Commission (BLC) to landmark the building. The BLC voted unanimously to accept the petition, which is still pending.

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