BOSTON — The city today broke ground on a new East Boston branch of the Boston Public Library, a $17.4 million project that will consolidate the services provided by the neighborhood’s two existing branches.
At 15,000-square feet, the new branch will have more than double the combined space of East Boston’s two currently operating branches, according to a library spokeswoman.
“This state-of-the-art branch library will bring people together from across the neighborhood,” Mayor Thomas Menino said in a statement, “providing not only a beautiful facility, but outstanding programs and resources for all East Boston residents.”
The project is funded by the city’s $1.8 billion five-year capital plan, which includes the East Boston branch and nearly $200 million of other authorizations for Fiscal Year 2013. A capital budget is separate from an annual operating budget.
The new branch, overlooking Bremen Street Park, will include dedicated areas for children, teens and adults, and a community space and an outdoor reading porch. It’s scheduled to open in the fall of 2013.
The city says the East Boston branch, originally established in 1839, is “the first municipally supported branch library in the United States.”
Though ultimately spared, BPL trustees facing an operating budget gap did vote to close East Boston’s Orient Heights branch, and three other city branches, in 2010.