New Librarian Named for the South End Branch

Special to Sun

The South End Library is delighted to welcome Christina Jones as our new Librarian. Christina has been with BPL for about five years as a floating librarian, doing stints in every department at Copley and at all but two BPL branches.  Just prior to starting at the South End on May 25, she was overseeing the interlibrary loan process.  Before joining BPL, Christina worked in retail.  She holds a degree in Library Sciences from Simmons University, where she worked in the campus library.

Christina is excited about serving our community. She is investigating the bike bookmobile possibilities and preparing to implement interim services such as story times, author talks, and other valuable programming.  She can be reached at [email protected].   

Architectural Firm selection

Four architectural firms made the short list for the Library renovation.  These include, in ranked order: 1.) Utile, Inc.; 2.)   Oudens Ello Architecture, LLC; 3.)   Annum Architects, Inc.; and 4.)   Schwartz/Silver Architects, Inc.

The top contender, Utile, has significant experience with other branch libraries (such as Roxbury and Jamaica Plain), a strong community engagement process, and a design inclination toward transparency/natural light.

Fee negotiation with Utile has begun.  The project will likely be presented for formal approval to the Public Facilities Commission (PFC) at its mid-July meeting.  (Information re how to join this public meeting can be found on the PFC section of the website.) 

Following approval, the City Hall contracting process will begin.  As the contracting process is expected to take 1-2 months, work on the study and design phases will likely begin in late summer/early fall.  The design process usually last a year, and construction about two years.

Community Engagement Process

As part of the study and design phases, the architects will reach out to the community for input on the project.  They will host four meetings for this purpose, which will also be attended by BPL staff, Public Facilities staff, and all interested community members.  It is expected that the first meeting will be virtual and subsequent ones will be hybrid.

In addition to these architect-led meetings, BPL staff will reach out to engage with the community, perhaps with specific groups, such as seniors, students, etc. 

As they begin their work, the architects will develop a project timeline, which will be published on the South End Branch page of the BPL website, as well as on FOSEL’s website and via links and through other social media.

Interim Library Services

Because the South End Branch will be closed for a significant period of time during renovation, it is critical that BPL offers enhanced interim library services.  BPL staff are optimistic that the space offered by United South End Settlements may be usable as a fixed location to house temporary operations and programs such as story time, book clubs, and workforce development, as well as book drop-off.  As noted above, BPL is also looking into using a bike bookmobile.

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