Wednesday, May 6, 2009

The Chinatown Storefront Library

Believe it or not, Chinatown is one of the few neighborhoods in Boston without its own public library branch. It has been without a library since 1956 as a result of the construction of the Central Artery, despite the fact that there has been strong community support and activism for regaining this public service. Seeing that Chinatown is predominately a pedestrian community, with many elderly residents and young children with working parents, it becomes difficult to travel to the other public libraries, with the Boston Public Library in Copley being the closest branch. 

The purpose of the Chinatown Storefront Library is to activate vacant commercial space with an installation that will model the potential impact of a permanent library in the neighborhood. The Storefront Library will temporarily provide a selection of much needed services for the community, such as Internet access, periodicals, newspapers, and children's books for browsing. The library will be transformed from one of the many street-level, vacant commercial spaces and will operate for approximately three months. The Storefront Library also plans to host readings, film screenings, gatherings, and become a public venue to the community. 

This unique project will be exciting to follow and there are actually a couple of ways you can be involved in the process: 

Join the team - Email and include what skills you have to offer
Give items - i.e. laptops for internet access, printer and supplies, furniture for reading, children seating, newspaper + magazine subscriptions in both English and Chinese
Volunteer your time - When the library opens, there will be a "librarian" who will be monitoring the space, as well as volunteers to collect feedback from visitors, tidy up, translate, and to basically provide additional support
Ideas - This is a great opportunity to experiment with what the new Chinatown library branch could be. Ideas are essential for brainstorming and implementing for the next library in the heart of the city.
DONATE - Last, but not least, make a financial contribution. No donation is ever too small. You can donate online @ through the Chinese Progressive Association, as well as through mail. The address is located at:

Please visit 
for more information! 

"When a resource has been missing from a community for so long, it becomes difficult to realize its absence."

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