May 2021 Library News and Events

May 1, 2021

May 2021 Library News & Events

All programs are free of charge unless noted otherwise. Learn more at

BPL To-Go App
Patrons are now able to pick up physical items at the Boston Public Library with the new BPL To Go program. Using the library website, phone line (617.536.5400), or the BPL To Go iPhone app, patrons will be able to “order” (place a hold on) items such as books, DVDs, and CDs.

BPL Announces Permanent Elimination of Late Fines
Mayor Kim Janey recently announced that once approved by its Board of Trustees, the Boston Public Library will permanently eliminate late fines for patrons of all ages. This removal of late fines is supported by $125,000 of ‘revenue relief’ in Mayor Janey’s 2021 budget and will go into effect on July 1, 2021. The policy change will remove barriers and increase access to BPL resources for patrons across the City of Boston.  Read more about this policy change here.

BPL COVID-19 Resources
Looking for reliable information about COVID vaccines? The BPL has put together a resource guide to help answer your questions.

Celebrating Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month!
May is National Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, and we are celebrating with a new virtual shelf created with Rozzie Bound.  The shelf features a great list of AAPI authors we think you should know about! You can find our list here.

SPEAK OUT Contest for Boston Youth
Deadline: June 30, 2021

The Friends of the Roslindale Branch Library are inviting Boston youth in 3 age groups (Grades 6-8, 9-10, 11-12) to speak out about their experiences this past year.  You may submit an entry in any form and any language.  The name of each person who submits an entry will be entered into a drawing for $100 gift cards (we will have 3 of these prizes).  When a celebration and the drawing are scheduled this summer, we will invite you to attend (outdoors, socially distanced, etc.).  Please respond to one or both of these sets of questions:

1. What has the last year in a pandemic been like for you as a young person?  What’s been hard?  How have you found joy, strength, and resilience or learned to cope in some way?

2. What are you looking forward to with friends, school, sports, or elsewhere?  What do you hope the future holds?

Submissions can be in any form - art, poetry, rap, recording, multimedia, etc. - and in any language.  Email to to submit or to arrange for pick-up/delivery. Please include your current grade, name, address, and a way to contact you by phone or email.

Little Library Program at the Food Pantry Seeks Volunteers
Since early January, the Friends have been setting up a Little Library at the Roslindale Food Pantry.  The Pantry runs out of the Congregational Church (25 Cummins Highway) from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. every Saturday.  The Pantry serves between 75 - 90 individuals/families every week.  Before the Pantry opens, our volunteers set up a portable bookshelf and stock it with adult, young adult, early reader, and children’s books.  Volunteers are responsible for returning to the church at 4:00 p.m. (at the close of the Pantry) to break down the Little Library and store the shelf and books.  If you are interested in volunteering for this program, please e-mail Laura Sitterley at  You do not need to commit to a certain number of Saturdays a month.

Send Us Your Bulb Pictures!
If you purchased bulbs in our Dutch Mills fundraiser last year, and the bulbs are starting to bloom, send us pictures! We want to share them in our newsletter. Please email us at

Online Race and Inclusion Book Discussion:
Four Hundred Souls
Saturdays, May 1, 8 and 22
9:15 - 11 AM (Morning) or 2 - 3:45 PM (Afternoon)

Please read the following three essays before the May 1 discussion if you are attending:

1. A Community of Souls by Ibram X. Kendi  2. 1689-1694: The Germantown Petition Against Slavery by Christopher LeBron  3. 1704-1709: The Virginia Slave Codes by Kai Wright

Rozzie Reads Poetry and Open Mic
Thursday, May 20, 7 PM

Featured readers: Lee Varon and Alan Smith
to sign up, contact

Family Book Group: The Jumbies
Wednesday, May 26, 4 PM

Let's read together! Join your friends, family, and fellow Yearlong Reading Challenge participants at the Boston Public Library as we discuss the May Community Read for families: The Jumbies by Tracey Baptiste. Baptiste brings Caribbean folklore to life in this deliciously creepy story about a young girl who must save her island from malevolent spirits. The discussion will be moderated by Roslindale Children’s librarian Celeste Bocchicchio-Chaudhri and Central Children’s librarian Laura Koenig and will take place on Zoom. You must register at least one day in advance of the program to receive the Zoom link. Caregivers, we welcome your attendance and participation. Follow this link to register.

Activist Kids Book Club
Saturdays, 4 PM

Through April 24, the Activist Kids Book Club will focus on a different page in A is for Activist, read other picture books about the issues and movements discussed in the book, learn about kid activists throughout history and today, and talk about what we can do to make our world a little more just for everyone. This group is best for kids ages 6 and up. We will send out a Zoom link on the day of the program.  Curious about what we have been reading? Check out the Activist Kids Book Club book list. Register for the whole Activist Kids Book Club here:

Preschool Storytimes
Tuesdays, 4:30 PM

Miss Celeste kicked off Preschool Storytime this year with an alphabet-themed series. Each week she introduces a puppet version of the letter of the week and gives the opportunity to guess the character’s favorite food, animal, and other items. This helps promote letter recognition and phonetic awareness. We read stories and sing songs to develop early literacy skills in a fun and playful way. Please go to to register.

Online Spanish Conversation Group
Saturdays, 11:30 AM - 12:30 PM

Join this casual Spanish conversation group for all levels.  It is currently accepting new members into the group.  To join, email with "Spanish Group" in the subject line.

Repairing America Series

Dr. Celine Gounder — COVID and Where Do We Go from Here?
May 13th | 6:00pm - 7:30pm
Join epidemiologist, journalist, and filmmaker Dr. Celine Gounder for an online conversation about the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Sign up for these and other upcoming events in the Repairing America series at

Teen Virtual Volunteer Program
Boston Teen Central has volunteer opportunities for teens! Read books, write reviews, rate and review video games, help with the BPL teen twitch stream, and more! Interviews will take place on June 14 and 15 from 3:00 to 5:00 PM. Visit for more information.

Teen Game Jam
Do you think you’re the best teen game creator in Boston? Come find out at the Boston Public Library's first-ever Game Jam! The challenge is simple: in teams or by yourself, create a short game that draws attention to an issue affecting your local or global communities.  Two info sessions will mark the official "kickoff" of the Game Jam, where teens will get a chance to meet their competitors, grill our esteemed judges, ask questions, and form teams (if they haven’t already). Info sessions will be on May 7 and 14 at 5:00 pm. Teens do not need to attend both info sessions. Groups and individuals can begin to submit their game after this event, and all submissions must occur by midnight on May 31, 2021. Full submission details available here.

Tech Tools for Digital Activism: Social Justice for Teens, by Teens
Thursday, May 13, 4-5:30 pm
Description: Know of any aspiring young activists who are looking to hone their tech skills? This FREE Digital Activism event will allow teens to use multimedia to develop media for social justice using the FREE online tool Adobe Spark. In just 90 minutes, teens will be able to enhance their ability to create digital resources that promote pertinent social and/or community issues through captivating, compelling messages they can access from virtually any computer. REGISTRATION REQUIRED – limited seats remaining / May 13 Event Link. Register here.

Children’s Book Bundles
Roslindale Children’s Librarian Celeste Bocchicchio-Chaudhri and Jamaica Plain Children’s Librarian Barbara Rhodes are working together to create custom book bundles for kids to pick up at the Jamaica Plain library. We know it is hard to know what books to choose for your kids without browsing the shelves. Since the library buildings will remain closed for the time being due to escalating COVID cases in the city, book bundles are the next best thing to browsing! Fill out one of our request forms, or email the information to, and we will prepare a stack of books just for your kid!

After-hours Book Drops Are Now Open
While the Roslindale Book drop is still unavailable due to the ongoing construction, the after-hours book drops at the other city branches are now open. You can return books at your convenience.

Virtual Homework Assistance Program
The Boston Public Library’s Homework Assistance Program has gone virtual this year. Students in grades K-8 can meet with high achieving high school students on Zoom to get help with school assignments. There are four different Zoom rooms for different areas of the city. Roslindale is in Zoom 3. The Homework Assistant Program can be accessed via computer, smartphone, tablet, or telephone.

Online Resource Highlight: Novelist Plus

Fiction and nonfiction reading recommendations, including reviews, articles, reading lists, and more. For kids, teens, and adults.

Enter the website here.

Business Donations!
Thanks to recent donations from Google, John Hancock, and Bain Capital we are able to continue doing online programming during the pandemic.  We welcome donations large and small to help defray costs to keep us going.  If you work with a company that offers donations and corporate matches to 501c3 nonprofits like the Friends, please consider contacting your human resources or external giving department and email us at

Holiday Shopping with the Friends!
If you are doing more Amazon shopping during the lockdown, please consider registering with our Friends' AmazonSmile account.  For eligible purchases at AmazonSmile, the Friends receive 0.5 percent of the purchase price year-round.  There is no additional cost to the Friends or to AmazonSmile customers. You will see eligible products marked “Eligible for donation” on their product detail pages. The shopping experience is identical to with the added benefit that the AmazonSmile Foundation will donate that percentage to the Friends!  The percentage might seem minuscule, but this adds up if you are a regular Amazon customer who makes purchases several times a week or month.  Of course, if you just want to donate directly to the Friends, you can do so on our donation page or become a Friends member.  Every dollar and cent counts!

The BPL is offering limited pickup services for physical library materials at most branches when put on hold.  Library cardholders — including e-card holders — will be able to safely pick up their items much like picking up takeout from a restaurant, and return items using designated bins.  No other physical services at the library will be available, but branches will continue to offer a wide range of online programming and resources.

Online ESL Classes

The BPL offers various online courses for those learning English:

  • Beginner Class for Spanish Speakers, Fridays, 10:30-11:30 am
  • High Beginner/Elementary Class, Fridays, 11:30am-12:30pm
  • Intermediate Class, Wednesdays, 1-2:15 pm
  • Advanced Class, Tuesdays, 1-2:15 pm
  • Reading and Discussion Class, Thursdays, 11 am-12:30 pm
  • Conversation Classes, Mondays, 3-4:15pm, Tuesdays, 5:30-6:45pm, Wednesdays, 7-8:30pm, Fridays, 1-2:15pm

Students can register by emailing or calling 617-859-2446. They also have an online ESL Singing Class with the Back Bay Chorale, Tuesdays, 10:30-11:30 pm, students can register at  The BPL is partnering with St. Mark Community Education Program to offer online Citizenship classes. The classes have already started, but students can sign up for the waitlist at

BPL makes historical images available for use in Wikipedia

In celebration of Wikipedia’s 20th anniversary on January 15th, Boston Public Library has uploaded more than 8,000 historical photographs from its archival collections to Wikimedia Commons. These images include some of the library’s most important photographic collections and contribute to the single largest batch of uploads ever contributed to Wikimedia Commons. By uploading these public domain images, BPL is making them available so that they can be freely used to enhance Wikipedia articles, re-printed in publications, or incorporated in student projects and papers.   Read more about it here

BPL Reading Together
The Boston Public Library is launching Reading Together, a yearlong reading challenge for the year 2021. While many Bostonians remain isolated due to the global health emergency, Reading Together challenges BPL patrons to read a book each month that falls under a suggested theme. The themes were chosen to broaden perspectives and connect readers across the city throughout the year.  Readers of all ages and all language speakers are encouraged to participate in the yearlong challenge. Recommended booklists corresponding to the monthly themes are available for adults, teens, and children at Readers are also welcome to choose their own books each month and to share their recommendations with others participating in the challenge.


Online Resources at
There are many ways to use the Boston Public Library during this period. You can sign up for a BPL library card at to get an eCard. The eCard provides access to millions of ebooks, audiobooks, movies, newspapers, magazines, journals, databases, and other online resources, including OverDriveKanopy, and Hoopla. All you need is a computer, phone or tablet, and an internet connection to access these resources and then log in to with your eCard or physical library card.  The BPL is also offering a full listing of online services.  Send your questions to   Please leave your gently-used donated books in any little library in the Roslindale Community Library Network.

Computer Access at the BPL
Mayor Walsh and the Boston Public Library launched two new initiatives designed to help bridge the digital equity gap in the City of Boston. The Public Computer Access program will allow residents to sign up for a two-hour appointment to use library computers in a socially distanced space within the Central Library in Copley Square. The Outdoor Wi-Fi Program provides 24-hour outdoor internet access at nine BPL branch locations across the city, allowing users to socially distance while accessing the Internet for free.

Museum Passes
The Boston Public Library also announced it is reinstating a version of the Museum Passes program, granting BPL patrons access to free and discounted passes to Massachusetts museums and cultural institutions. As museums continue to open in Phase Three of the Commonwealth’s reopening plan, the library will add more institutions to the program. For more information on COVID-19 safety requirements when visiting these organizations, patrons can call or visit their websites directly.

Printing To Go
Printing To Go, a free print-on-demand service is now available at all BPL branches not currently under construction.  Patrons can upload documents they need to be printed by filling out a form at, selecting their location, and picking up their print jobs 72 hours later at the branches, or 24 hours later at the Central Library in Copley Square. Printed items can be picked up during branch hours of operation, a reservation is not needed.  The service is limited to 10 pages per patron per day. Documents will be printed in black and white, single-sided, on 8.5" x 11" paper, and should not include personal information, such as Social Security numbers, credit card numbers, or other similar information. Print requests must comply with the Library’s Internet Use Procedures and Guidelines.

New WiFi Hotspots
The Boston Public Library has invested in new wifi hotspots that can be checked out from the library. If you do not have internet access at home you can check out a hotspot for three weeks. The hotspots have unlimited data and can support up to 15 devices. You can place a hold on a hotspot online or by calling your closest library branch. Since the Roslindale branch is closed for construction, you can place a hold to pick up a hotspot at Jamaica Plain (617) 524-2053 or West Roxbury (617) 325-3147, or any other branch that is convenient.

Books of the Month

Each month we feature themed booklists grouped for adults, teenagers/young adults, and children, and can be borrowed as an ebook from!

Books about Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage
May is Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month.  Celebrate, uplift, and learn from Asian American and Pacific Islander authors' works today and every day.

Books about Adventure
Need a mental vacation? Here are some books that take you on an adventurous journey!

Books about Black Lives Matter
Now and always, the Boston Public Library stands with the Black community. Check out one of these titles today to educate yourself about police brutality, anti-Black racism in the present day and throughout history, and the BLM movement.  None of these books have waitlists!

Words of Wisdom

"The best candy shop a child can be left alone in is a library." - Maya Angelou

Sharing is Caring
The best way to know about upcoming offsite Roslindale library programs, special events, news, and renovation updates is to stay on this email list, like our Facebook page, and regularly visit and  If you know anyone who would like to join our email list, please tell them to sign up on our website's homepage at  We would also appreciate it if you forward our emails and share and like our Facebook posts with your networks to help get the word out.

Support the Friends!
We are a volunteer-run organization. All the work we do for library programming, publicity, and building improvements is done with support from the community. There are many ways to support the Friends, like donating, becoming a Friends member, and even shopping on Amazon!

Contact the Friends
For information about the Friends, contact us.  We also share information about upcoming events, photos from past events, and other library news on Facebook, and on our blog!

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