Members of branch-library friends groups have started a citywide organization to push for enough funding to keep all 26 BPL branches open.
People of Boston Branches was formally organized at a meeting last night at the Connolly library in Jamaica Plain, according to Brandon Abbs, who organized a protest read-in at the Egleston branch on Saturday.
Abbs said in the short term, the group will support an effort by city councilors Chuck Turner and Felix Arroyo to use $3.6 million from a city reserve fund to make up an anticipated deficit that Mayor Tom Menino and library officials say will force the closing of up to ten branch libraries. The group will also fight for more public hearings on the issue; Abbs said group members are concerned about all the private meetings city and state officials are holding on branches without public input. He added the group will "also organize resistance to the tax breaks being offered to Liberty Mutual Group to build new headquarters in downtown Boston."
Abbs said the group will also try to get the city and state to apply for federal stimulus funds for library use. "Over the long term, the group will begin fundraising efforts to protect and enhance branch resources as well as help the Friends organize volunteer programs to assist in the work at the libraries," he said.