This past Sunday, Sept. 25, marked the one-year anniversary of the groundbreaking for the renovation of the Jamaica Plain Branch Library at the corner of South and Sedgwick streets, and the refurbished, expanded building is still on track to open in the spring, according to library officials.
Externally, the most noticeable difference from the old building is the tall, angular and beautiful modern glass entryway facing South Street. The glass edifice, adorned in monogrammed BPL lettering, will create a more visible main entry for the community.
Additionally, a reading lounge with views of the lawn and a new terrace under the eaves of the historic part of the building along Sedgwick Street will offer visitors a place to read, mingle and play games, said Melina Schuler, director of communications for the BPL.
The design incorporates signage throughout the building highlighting interesting facts about Jamaica Plain collected by the Friends of the Jamaica Plain Branch Library.
The renovations honor the historic nature of the building by reusing and refinishing some of the original furniture and book stacks, but will also include new furniture, restrooms, fixtures and mechanical systems. Critically, the new area will include an elevator that will provide access to all levels of the library.
The renovation is intended to provide a wider range of free programs and resources to the community, Schuler said. The library will have a multipurpose room for community events and a conference room for smaller meetings. There will be new technology throughout the library as well, including a new makerspace and a 3D printer, Schuler said.
The city's growing school-aged population will have the opportunity to enjoy an expanded children's area and dedicated tween and teen areas, said Schuler. The children's room will also include custom-designed wallpaper incorporating characters from children's books by local authors, and throughout the building will be gallery space for local artists.
A refreshed collection of reading materials which will fill the branch upon reopening, will incorporate specific needs of the Jamaica Plain community, Schuler added.