ICYMI: Boston Public Library Permanently Eliminates Late Fines

The Boston Public Library system is joining a growing list of a libraries across the country to permanently eliminate all library fines. Maybe you wouldn't think that late fines generate a lot of money -- but you'd be wrong. In FY19, BPL collected $176,512 in overdue fines from cardholders, which only represented a fraction of the total overdue fine balance on record, according to a press release. Currently, about 42,000 BPL cardholders are facing fines, and thus cannot continue their use of the library system. BPL states that a large portion of the Boston residents facing fines live in neighborhoods which are the most economically challenged parts of the city.


Free MBTA, Bluebikes Passes for Employees in Three Squares Main Street District

To support COVID-19 recovery, Boston's government is offering preloaded MBTA and Bluebikes passes to employees in five Main Street Districts, including Three Squares Main Street in Jamaica Plain. The first 1,000 employees who sign up for the program from Three Squares, Mission Hill, Nubian Square, East Boston, and Fields Corner, will receive the passes. This is a pilot program being phased in during the next two months. Some applicants will be selected to receive an MBTA pass with a full $60 right away, and others will get two cards after four weeks values that add up to $60, according to the city's website. Bluebikes pass-holders will be able to take as many trips as they want during the two-month period.


Check Out Franklin Park Action Plan, Fill Out Survey Thru April 2

The Boston Parks & Recreation Department would like to hear residents' opinions about the preliminary designs to give Boston's largest park a major facelift by filling  out the Franklin Park Action Plan survey by April 2. The designs were recently presented to the public during two online virtual sessions. The plan was created after three community workshops. Feedback will help project planners refine the plan. The survey is available on the project website FranklinParkActionPlan.com.


South Street Mall Getting Makeover with Pickleball Courts, Water Fountain & More

The South Street Mall is in the midst of a facelift that includes new basketball hoops , LED lighting, and the installation of a drinking fountain. The courts are being resurfaced and repainted to include a total of six pickleball courts as seen in the graphic below. The two tennis nets and two basketball hoops will remain at the mall, said Liz Sullivan, Director of External Affairs and Marketing for the Boston Parks and Recreation Department. The lights are being upgraded to LED, and a drinking fountain that includes a bottle filling option has already been installed. Sullivan said the courts should be completed early April, and then the city will come back early May when the weather allows for the court painting.


JP Library Stuff: Free Resilient Garden Kits, Social Justice Book Group, Snowflake Window Display

Even though libraries aren't open for in-person services, that doesn't mean the Jamaica Plain Branch Library doesn't have things to offer patrons. For all you gardeners, the Jamaica Plain Branch Library is offering free "Resilient Garden Kits," seed kits for people in the community. The kits include seeds for plants like radishes, beets, carrots, lettuce, peas, sunflowers, parsley, cilantro, and more. The project began last year at the Egleston Square Branch Library and will continue at a number of other BPL locations including Jamaica Plain, Egleston Square, Codman Square, Parker Hill, Mattapan, South End, South Boston, and East Boston, according to the Friends of the Jamaica Plain Branch Library newsletter. Seed kits will be picked up during pick up hours, using the same contactless pickup method as for other items. Please check the JP Branch Library Facebook page for an update about when seed kits will be available to pick up.