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The Future of Libraries Involves Affordable Housing

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The Boston Public Library is the latest in a string of public libraries in metropolitan areas to plan for co-location. Co-location is when housing is combined with other public services, like public libraries and radio studios, for instance.

The president of the Boston Public Library, David Leonard, explained how combining affordable housing with public libraries serves communities in more ways than either structure could by itself. In addition to helping Boston’s affordable housing shortage, the initiative will also provide much needed renovations to a couple of its already existing branches, as well as add an additional branch in Boston’s Chinatown — an area that has been without its own library since the ’50s.

The three libraries that will be impacted by this initiative — the West End branch, the Upham branch, and the aforementioned future Chinatown branch — are apart of a $4.28 billion spending plan and will add Boston to a group of other, mostly east coast libraries that are combining public libraries and affordable housing — the others being Washington, D.C., New York City, and Chicago.

Find more news and stories of interest from the book world in Breaking in Books.