East Boston Branch Library Celebrates 10th Anniversary

The East Boston Branch of the Boston Public Library (BPL) celebrated its 10th anniversary in its current 365 Bremen Street location on November 4 with day-long festivities, including a breakfast served with pastries reflecting countries represented in the community.

“Ten years ago, we got to open – what I consider to be – the first of this decade of renovations of branch libraries throughout the system,” expressed David Leonard, President, Boston Public Library. “The real story of libraries is about establishing experiences with community members. Over the 10-year period, there have been 1 ½ million physical items lent from this location, and 1.2 million visitors.”

Residents enjoying a breakfast items representing foods and drinks from the countries represented in the East Boston community, such as Chinese coconut tarts, Vietnamese iced coffee, and South American alfajor.

Leonard explained that the BPL was the first, large, municipally funded public library in the country, charted in 1848. The East Boston Branch Library, which has been in four locations, was the first branch library in the United States, having opened in 1870.  The BPL is now a system of 25 branches.

Boston Public Library origins began when the East Boston population was predominantly of Italian, Irish, and Jewish decent; and has deep connections to Boston’s maritime and port industries. It continues to serve immigrants, with 50% of the community deriving from Latin America and Hispanic origins.

“This is a vibrant community. In many ways, it continues to be the Ellis Island of Boston as a neighborhood,” said Leonard. “It is important to have this branch in the heart of this community. We have responsive collections, great information, and resourceful professionals.”

Mela Villa Gomez, Mayor Michelle Wu’s East Boston Liaison, presented a certificate of recognition in honor of the East Boston Branch Library’s 10 years of service and programming.

“I grew up loving reading and have borrowed many books from this library,” acknowledged Villa Gomez. “I know how special this place is for youth and adults – from community events to daily, evening homework sessions.”

Representative Adrian Madaro recalled frequenting the Meridian Street branch with his mother growing up. Now when he visits, he sees children and families utilizing the space, as well as adults gathering in the meeting rooms, and residents attending cultural activities.

Madaro presented a citation on behalf of the House of Representatives congratulating the East Boston Branch Library on their 10-year milestone and endured impact. He commended the library staff for their smiling faces, helpfulness, and resourcefulness.

“My mom made sure at a young age that I loved books and going to the library. I often did my homework there,” described Madaro. “I remember having mixed feelings when that branch closed. I felt attached to that space; but we got here has been transformative in this community. The location – along the Greenway, sandwiched between schools, next to the T station – is remarkable. It is a state-of-the-art facility with so much natural light. This place is filled with so much love and community.”

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