(Jeremy C. Fox for Boston.com)
For the first time in decades, Chinatown residents have a lending library to call their own, and the community will celebrate at a grand opening ceremony Saturday afternoon.
From 1 p.m–3 p.m. on April 21, the organizers of the Chinatown Lantern Cultural and Educational Center invite residents from Chinatown and around the area to visit the library inside the Oak Terrace apartment complex at the corner of Oak and Washington streets in Chinatown.
The new library will be open to all and offer a rotating collection of 8,000 books and magazines in English and Chinese. A collaboration with the Boston Public Library will make additional titles available, with a different set of BPL books brought in several times a year. The library also includes laptops, iPads, and free Internet access, with computer skills and iPad classes available, as well as English conversation practice and children’s storytelling hours.
Though the project is the culmination of years of community activism and hard work by a group of neighborhood leaders, they hope this 800-square-foot space is just the beginning. Currently the organizers are exploring options to create a cultural center of up to 20,000 square feet that would include an art gallery and performance space, as well as a reading room.
The library is a project of the Chinatown Coalition, a group of organizations, institutions, and individuals serving the Chinatown community through collaboration and sharing of resources.
The space for the library was made available at low cost by the Asian Community Development Corporation, which owns Oak Terrace, with assistance from Maloney Properties, which manages the complex. Startup funds for the library included a $50,000 donation from the Barr Foundation and $100,000 from a private donor.