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$18.3 million reconstruction, reopening of Boston Public Library Adams Street branch celebrated

The branch has been reimagined to prioritize inclusivity and access. Patrons were welcomed back into the branch on July 31.

Mayor Kim Janey and the Boston Public Library (BPL) today celebrated the completed reconstruction of the Adams Street Branch. Starting on July 31st, the building will be open for limited in-person services, following an $18.3 million project that began in June 2019. The programming, design and construction were managed by the City of Boston’s Public Facilities Department, with consultation from the Mayor’s Office of Arts & Culture, architecture firm NADAAA, and J&J Contractors, Inc. To celebrate the opening, Mayor Janey, the BPL and the City of Boston’s Public Facilities Department hosted a ribbon cutting at the newly completed branch. 

“I am thrilled that the new and improved Adams Street branch will once again provide an accessible, inclusive place for the Dorchester community to gather, learn, and grow,” said Mayor Kim Janey. “My local library played a huge part in my upbringing. Libraries like the Adams Street branch continue to bring joy and essential services to residents of all ages.” 

The reconstruction was designed with the input of the Dorchester community, and entirely reimagined the prior space to prioritize inclusivity, transparency and access. The 13,450 square foot reconstruction nearly doubled the prior 7,200 square foot space, including a 100-seat community room, a conference room and a study room, a children’s early literacy story area, a newly designed teen area, expanded patron seating, a music room, and robust technology infrastructure. The community room has been named after the late Patricia O’Neill, in honor of her contributions to the Dorchester community as the leader of the Ashmont Adams Neighborhood Association. 

Additionally, the outdoor space has been updated, centered around the existing Oak tree, to provide an eco-friendly space for patrons to read and gather as a community. The building also includes several universal access features, such as furniture and library shelving designed with users of all ages in mind; wheelchair accessible computers, tables, and borrower services stations; and T-coil enabled assistive listening systems throughout the community room and at the borrower services desk.  

The Adams Street neighborhood was first provided books through a delivery station on Walnut Street back in 1875. A reading room later opened at 362 Neponset Avenue in 1907, and the current branch location opened in 1951. The branch is known for its world language collections in Spanish and Vietnamese, its gathering spaces used widely by local organizations and members of the community, and its outdoor space.  

“We are so excited to share the reimagined Adams Street branch with the Dorchester community,” said David Leonard, President of the Boston Public Library. “The new building was designed with transparency and a sense of invitation and welcome in mind; with open sightlines and glass walls to visually connect the interior to the surrounding neighborhood; and with improved accessibility features to ensure all residents feel welcome in the space. We look forward to returning full services and hours to the surrounding community.” 

For the safety of staff and patrons, the building will reopen with the same limited-in person services the rest of the BPL branches are currently offering. Visitors must wear a mask over their nose and mouth, regardless of vaccination status, and they are not permitted to eat or drink in indoor library spaces. The branch hours will be Monday: 10AM – 6PM; Tuesday: 10AM – 6PM; Wednesday: 12PM – 8PM; Thursday: 10AM – 6PM; Friday: 9AM – 5PM. 

The FY22 budget includes major renovations to the Roslindale and Faneuil Branches, design for a reimagining of the Fields Corner Branch, continued repair, renovation and master planning projects at the Central Library in Copley Square, planning activities for the Upham’s Corner and Chinatown Branches, and programming studies at the Codman Square, West End, and Egleston Square branches. These projects include community engagement to gain input, feedback, and insight from patrons and local organizations. More information on these additional projects can be found at and   

To learn more about the history of the Adams Street branch project visit


Established in 1848, the Boston Public Library is a pioneer of public library service in America. It was the first large, free municipal library in the United States; the first public library to lend books; the first to have a branch library; and the first to have a children’s room.   

The Boston Public Library of today is a robust system that includes the Central Library in Copley Square, 25 neighborhood branches, the Norman B. Leventhal Map and Education Center, the Kirstein Business and Innovation Center, and an archival center, offering public access to world-class special collections of rare books, manuscripts, photographs, and prints, along with rich digital content and online services.   

The Boston Public Library serves nearly 4 million visitors per year and millions more online. All of its programs and exhibitions are free to all and open to the public.   

The Boston Public Library is a department of the City of Boston, under the leadership of Mayor Kim Janey. To learn more, visit 


Part of the City of Boston's Operations Cabinet, the Public Facilities Department supports all City departments in their efforts to improve customer services to Boston's constituencies. The Public Facilities Department oversees all major projects at City-owned buildings and is responsible for managing the programming, planning, design and construction for new buildings and major renovations across all neighborhoods in Boston.

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