News & Updates

Mayor Walsh and community members celebrate the opening of Boston Public Library Chinatown

Feb 05, 2018

Mayor Martin J. Walsh and community members recently celebrated the opening of the Boston Public Library Chinatown location. The new library site is in the China Trade Center, located at 2 Boylston Street. The event marked the return of library services to the neighborhood for the first time in more than 50 years.
“Chinatown residents have long advocated for the return of a branch library to their neighborhood, and we listened, with many productive conversations until we could make it a reality expanding educational opportunities for the community,” said Mayor Martin J. Walsh.
As owner of the Chinatown Trade Center, the Boston Planning & Development Agency (BPDA) helped to make these library services a reality. The agency served as the project manager for the build-out of the temporary library services space. In order to expedite the opening of BPL Chinatown, the BPDA extended an existing contract with Bargmann Hendrie + Archtype Inc., the architectural firm overseeing the BPDA's overall renovation of the China Trade Center, to include design and build-out supervision for the library services. In July of 2017, the BPDA awarded the construction contract to Northern Contracting Corporation, Inc.

"Over the past several years, the Boston Planning & Development Agency has worked to bring providers and services to the China Trade Center that benefit the people of Chinatown," said Brian Golden, Director of the BPDA. "After many years without a library in Chinatown, we are pleased that the Chinatown Trade Center can serve as the temporary home of BPL Chinatown and look forward to working with BPL and the community to find a permanent home for library services."

The temporary location will operate for three to five years while plans for long-term library services in Chinatown are developed. In 2017 planning firm Miller Dyer Spears worked with the BPL, the Mayor’s Office of Neighborhood Services, and the community to develop long-term requirements for a library services program in the neighborhood.

“BPL Chinatown demonstrates our commitment to our communities and the importance of the physical Library’s presence throughout the City. Chinatown is a vibrant, evolving neighborhood and Boston Public Library is eager to bring long-term services to the neighborhood,” said Boston Public Library President David Leonard.

“Residents, including youth, have worked for many years to return library service to Chinatown,” said Suzanne Lee, President Emeritus of the Chinese Progressive Association. “We are happy this is finally a reality, and we will continue to work toward a permanent solution.”

Features of the approximate $1 million BPL Chinatown location, includes bilingual staff, books, newspapers, and periodicals in English and Mandarin, children’s programming, a 2,500 item collection, DVDs in English and Mandarin, holds pick-up, immigration and citizenship information, laptops for in-library use, and WiFi.
In addition to housing the new library services, the China Trade Center is also the home to numerous non-profit agencies that provide essential services to Chinatown residents, including the International Institute of New England, the Urban College of Boston and Health Resources in Action.

For a video on the BPL Chinatown opening, please visit:

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