Era nears end in Orient Heights

In the downstairs children's room.In the downstairs children's room.

The small Orient Heights library has just a few more days of life left before it's shut down as the BPL readies the brand-new - and larger - East Boston library on Bremen Street. That library is due to open Nov. 2.

Upstairs in the libraryThe first floor.

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Sorry to see it go

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Truth be told, there really wasn't a whole lot there, but it was an institution. I went there as a child. Even now, it was convenient to return books there before getting on the T at Orient Heights. I am sorry to see it go. I wonder what they will put there? It's a nice little historic building and good location. I wouldn't want to see it become just another Brazilian restaurant or something.

We need far less.

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Libraries are anachronisms. They exist largely as free day care for children. Amazon.com, the Internet, and Netflix (since libraries have focused on becoming video rental services in their search for relevancy) have rendered libraries all but obsolete.

The cost of the library building plus an exorbitant staff is unjustified. The money could be better spent elsewhere.

Your privilege is showing.

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Your privilege is showing. There are many people in the city who cannot afford to buy books from Amazon.com and cannot afford their own home computers. For job searches, research reports, and reading for pleasure, the library is still a lifeline for them. Not to mention all of the wonderful FREE programming available for children whose parents either can't afford or don't want to take them to a private place like Gymboree or Isis. There is something to be said for raising a new generation of library lovers and supporters.

Libraries still play a role

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Well, free day care for children isn't a terrible idea.

But beyond that, libraries qua libraries still have a place, even though I'm a vigorous supporter of all that newfangled Internet jazz. Online bookstores are a great place to buy books. But the ability to borrow and browse books is something the Internet hasn't really replaced, at least under our current copyright system. Plus, libraries aren't just book warehouses; they can make available other educational resources which can't be downloaded. (For instance, computers themselves. Most people have some sort of Internet access but it's good to have a backup plan.)

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Free day care is a terrible

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Free day care is a terrible idea. It removes parental responsibility for taking care of their own offspring emotionally and financially and burdens the rest of society with them. The end result is a costly system when everyone is responsible so no one is responsible. The children grow up to be sociopaths disconnected from the concept of family with no responsibility felt toward their own offspring. They think nothing of siring multiple offspring because they have no responsibility to raise them and have no concept of family from their own upbringing.

Libraries are places of storage of knowledge, continuing education, personal enlightenment, and family or community gathering in pursuit of enrichment. They shouldn't be a place to abandon the kids so mommy and daddy can neglect their children to do God knows what all day. Nor should they be homeless shelters, mental asylums, daycare, or social service centers.

We have as a city dedicated facilities and professional staff for most societal issues. It is improper and unjust to expect librarians trained as keepers of knowledge and research to fulfill the duties of social workers or child care providers.

It is hard enough attempting to keep our libraries in good order without having to deal with: wild abandoned children running amok, perverts leaving DNA, addicts leaving paraphernalia, drunks vomiting, derelicts encamping or spreading multiple species of louse, vandals finding creative ways of defacing or breaking or stealing everything and anything, and the mentally ill reenacting One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest.

And the teachers think they have it hard!

Is your response to not give a shit?

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Just curious, because recently when I've talked to BPL librarians about the ridiculous amount of noise that's tolerated in the libraries, they tell me that it's outdated to expect quiet in a library. I'm curious whether you've at least tried the simple solution of asking people to keep their voices down in your library, or posted signs?

Last spring I was studying in a branch library, one of the ones where the main floor is all one open room, and an entire class from a local school came in, sat on the floor with their teacher, she took down several books and read these to them aloud, then she put them back and they got up and left. The teacher was reading in a full-volume teacher voice, the kids were asking questions at full volume, and at times they were laughing out loud or applauding.

I asked the librarian whether this was a scheduled event so that I could avoid it, and she said that school groups are welcome in the library at any time. She told me that most schools don't have libraries. Which, yes, I know this, and it would have been completely appropriate to bring a class over to, say, teach them how to use reference materials, show them how the library is organized, or have them each check out a book. But why on earth does the BPL tolerate anyone coming in and making tons of noise for absolutely no reason? Can the teacher not check out the book and read it in the classroom?

And the people who bring their kids in and let them run around and play grabass, aren't making any attempt to ask them to be quiet, and the librarians don't so much as give them a look. No WONDER people think the library is a place to come in and blast your radio and do drugs.

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Wow, Librarian, thanks for

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Wow, Librarian, thanks for that whole-hearted endorsement of libraries in the 21st century. I was looking forward to visiting the new library opening in my neighborhood. Now I know to stay away from that biohazard.

Funny, the main branch at

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Funny, the main branch at Copley Sq. is busy with mostly adults of all ages. I rarely see many children at all. I and many other adults frequent the library for research as there are many resources not available online and librarians are experts at highlighting materials one wouldn't expect to find. If you visit one maybe you'd be able to appreciate that libraries are a treasure for people who need a quiet place to read, study, learn and explore. That's cool if you're not interested in that, but many of us are. Now go watch tv.

The main branch doesn't

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The main branch doesn't justify the existence of the lesser branches.

Children's wing

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That might be because the children's wing is so large and separate.

Because all information is available for free on the internet!

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When you need to find reliable information for research, libraries are a goldmine. The databases available through the BPL provide online access to historical newspaper articles, genealogy information, scholarly research, and more. If you tried to find these resources through Google, you would hit paywall after paywall. And if you're not sure where to start or how to use the electronic resources that BPL has, librarians walk you through the process step by step. Plus, thanks to library staff, you have free resources on the internet that you wouldn't have been able to access otherwise. 85,426 digitized photos and documents made publicly available, anyone? http://www.flickr.com/photos/boston_public_library...

Free daycare? Are you talking about storytimes? Yes, encouraging our children to enjoy reading and learning is SUCH a waste of resources. Who needs that?

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books?

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The new library looks great and has a great location, but the downside is that two libraries (Orient Hts and Meridian Street) are being replaced with one. And given the huge atrium space in the front of the new building I don't know where all the uh... books go. Great to have that public Internet access but non-digital material still has a place (as well as activity space for kids and quiet areas for studying).

Cool thing is that some local folks are proposing some interesting use of the old Meridian Street building: Museum of Realist Art. Hopefully they can get that off the ground.

Upstairs?

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Are you sure that photo is upstairs in the library? I don't think the Orient Heights branch has an upstairs.

Well ...

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I was thinking "upstairs from the basement," since that's where the first photo is from, but you're right, this is a one-story building.

The children's room is

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The children's room is downstairs. This was the library my grandmother brought me to... and where I brought my own young kids. It was wonderful to live on St Andrew Rd and have that library within a few blocks on a rainy day. Great memories.

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I hate to nitpick...

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...but the Orient Heights branch has one floor only. The entrance is a little vestibule where one walks up two little steps to the front desk and the children's room is on one side and the adult area is on the other. All on one floor. The place is tiny.

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Maybe once, but ...

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We were actually there today. We went in the front door and sat in the main area (kidlet even found a video to check out).

And then we went down an entire flight of stairs, not a couple of steps, into what looks like it used to be the basement, but which had been redone as the children's room (there was a little curtained off kitchen/breakroom down for the librarians as well).

Orient Heights does not

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Orient Heights does not appeal to anyone new that's moving in to East Boston these days.They would rather buy property close to Piers park or bremen street park, Orient Heights Library should be converted into something similar to welfare building on Maverick street.

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BPL

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A few years back, the BHA began a rehab of the Old Colony Housing Projects (South Boston). The Washington Village branch was located there. It's now gone. I guess it's part of the plan to consolidate branches.

It's a ducky little building.

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It's a ducky little building. These new spacious grandiose libraries , and other municipal buildings as well look good and modern, but over time they will need a lot of dough to maintain. And if they aren't maintained , call Duane's and start the process all over again.