Four years ago Carlo Basile stood in front of the Orient Heights Branch Library and took a stand. At that time, with two libraries ready to close in Eastie and no funding to construct another, Basile played political hardball against the Boston Public Library’s Board of Trustees and city on behalf of East Boston.
At the time Basile was a staunch former Boston Mayor Thomas Menino supporter but showed the then mighty mayor his political independence when it came to an issue that affects his constituency. At the time Basile said it was about doing what’s right and making sure Eastie children could walk or bike ride to their local library until a new one opened.
Basile lead a delegation of twelve state representatives to block $3 million in funding to the Boston Public Library unless its Board of Trustees agrees to keep all 26 branches in the city open until new libraries were built.
“This is not about politics, its about doing the right thing for my neighborhood,” said Basile at the time. “People want to see these branches stay open and are not going to rely on promises of a new facility or an improved Meridian Street Branch.”
In the end Basile won the battle. The two libraries remained open until funding for the a new library on Bremen Street was secured, constructed and opened.
Now, four years later we have a state-of-the-art facility that received LEED Gold status this week. Since it opened last year the Bremen Street branch has been a hit among residents who love the location, the architecture and the fact it is environmentally friendly and sustainable.
And while many have taken a bow for its construction we can’t help but feel that Basile, from the very beginning, fought for the facility that exists today and enjoyed by all in the community.