Awardsreservation Massachusetts, Mayor Thomas M. Menino Legacy Award, 2022
Built in the 1960s, Boston’s Roslindale Library is undergoing a complete renovation for the digital age while maintaining a number of its original features.
A bright new entry pays homage to the library’s historical blue color theme, which is integrated into a series of multi-colored terra-cotta baguettes that represent the diversity of the neighborhood and also serve as a metaphor for books on shelves. Slightly elevated from street level and sheltered with landscape, an intimate reading garden with wood decking, seating, and fencing will provide a pleasant outdoor reading area in the midst of the site’s busy urban intersection.
A completely reconfigured interior will revive this vital place of community learning and gathering. Its design takes advantage of historical features such as the central dome with clerestory lighting, under which a new central point circulation desk will provide ease of access between library staff and patrons. A semi-circular, open reading space will provide greater overall visibility while maintaining separate areas for adults, teens, and children. A community room, reading room, conference room, computer stations, and an urban reading garden will complete the interior spaces. The renovation also includes new roofing, new mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems.
All aspects of the library will be made accessible. A new canopy covered entry eliminates outside steps and ramps and provides universal access at grade level, leading to a gently sloped interior walkway connected to the main spaces. A new elevator will provide library staff access to the basement space, which will contain storage spaces for area organizations including the Friends of Roslindale Branch Library and the Roslindale Historical Society among other elements.