Could libraries be a place to offer affordable housing?
21 April 2023
Libraries are more than somewhere to go to merely read, or borrow, a book. They’re often places were people study, work, and, to a degree, socialise. In short, libraries are community hubs.
But the idea that libraries could be expanded upon — subject to certain caveats — to offer affordable housing, is compelling. It is however a proposal the Boston Public Library has been considering, says library president David Leonard:
These three libraries will serve as a model to expand alternative affordable housing options. But Leonard said adding affordable housing may not be right for every neighborhood. Programming studies of the Field’s Corner branch revealed the space was too tight to deliver affordable construction; in Egleston Square, the community valued the existing greenspace over an expanded library/housing footprint.
On paper it’s an intriguing idea. People who need affordable housing would have somewhere to live, and potentially a community to tap into, downstairs in the library itself.