Welcome! Our goal is to restore the Chinatown branch of the Boston Public Library.
Our Vision To promote and enhance Chinatown’s history and character as a unique and welcoming Boston neighborhood, and to anchor Chinatown as a cultural center for the network of Asian American communities in the region.
Our Mission To serve Chinatown and the Greater Boston community by providing innovative programming, library services, and an intergenerational community cultural space.
What are we working towards?
Providing public library services for Chinatown.
Bringing the Chinatown community into the digital age.
Hosting a collection of Chinese language materials.
Developing and offering information, exhibits, and cultural programs that foster community identity and educate the general public.
Weihua (Alex) Li's "Boston Chinatown's history and future with branch library"
Why is a Chinatown Library so important? Since 1955, when their library was demolished for the Central Artery project, Chinatown residents have not had a place to go for library services. Chinatown is one of the few neighborhoods in Boston without its own public library branch. Libraries are the most accessible gateways to learning about information and resources, to social interactions, and to democracy. A library is an especially critical educational institution for a neighborhood like Chinatown, whose residents have high poverty rates, are largely immigrants with limited formal education, and include many English learners. In recent years, community advocates have demonstrated a clear and growing demand for library services:
The City of Boston's 2007 feasibility study showed that there was a critical need for library services in Chinatown.
The 3-month pop-up Chinatown Storefront Library in 2009-10 (www.storefrontlibrary.org) engaged almost 40 volunteers, circulated over 1300 books, and produced 110 in-library events, ranging from story hours to ESOL conversation groups.
Oak Terrace Reading Room in 2012-13 provided free educational programming, Chinese language newspapers, books in English and Chinese, and computer literacy services to over 5,000 visitors. It held a collection of over 8,000 books and magazines, circulated books to 250 cardholders, and offered over 60 hours of programming
In 2016, Chinese Youth Initiative students conducted focus groups with youth, parents, and the elderly and found that community members value a library as a resource that will foster intergenerational connections and provide more than just books. It would meet residents’ needs for resources on college readiness and job skills, and provide safe, fun, educational and cultural programming.