The Friends of the Faneuil Branch Library group was started in 1988 in response to the threat of closing the Faneuil Library due to budget cuts. Library supporters came together to raise funds to keep the library open temporarily as a “reading room,” until full funding was reinstated. Over time, operating funds were secured and the Friends’ role evolved to providing funding for newspapers and magazines, museum passes, adult and children’s programs, and to help create a more welcoming atmosphere, for instance, by buying comfortable reading chairs, book racks and artwork for patrons to enjoy.
Today, there are over 200 dues-paying members in The Friends of the Faneuil Library group, and many more enthusiastic supporters. The Friends’ current email list contains more than 600 addresses of individuals interested in being updated about library programs and initiatives to enhance its sustainability.
The Library is particularly noteworthy as an example of an Art Deco public building. Built in 1931 from designs provided by Kilham, Hopkins and Greely, this L-shaped, 1.5 story building is constructed of brick with granite facades. The visual impact of this building depends on simplicity of line and geometric form, as in the fluted, double corner pilaster-like elements, pier-like forms on either side of the entrance and windows and the rectangular panels above and beneath the library's windows. You can learn more on the Brighton-Allston Historical Society web site HERE.
During 2009 and 2010, when the very existence of the Faneuil Library was threatened by budget shortfalls, the Friends group relied heavily upon its members, supporters, other local civic groups, and local politicians to mount a campaign to preserve it. It is a testimony to the strong regard in which the library is held that we were able to sustain a successful effort to convince the Boston Public Library that Faneuil Branch Library is an asset to the Oak Square community. Faneuil Branch remaining open was the most important, yet by no means the only positive outcome of the campaign sustained by the Friends group. The branch and its programs have gained further visibility in the neighborhood and more individuals and families have become patrons. In 2019 the City approved funds for a complete renovation and facilities upgrading of the library.
Photo by Louise Kuhlman