Upham's Corner Online

Upham's Corner Library - A Closer Look


According to the Boston Public Library website, the Upham's Corner Library has been housed in its current location, the Municipal Building, since 1904. 

It was at that time the Uphams Corner Branch Library moved from a temporary store-front location on Dudley Street.  The Municipal Building had been constructed two years prior in 1902.

UC Library - Overview
UC Library - Importance
BPL Branches compared
UC Library - Close up
Other branches - photos
The indoor swimming pool leaked, was drained and lay fallow until the Children's Room took occupancy there (date unknown).

Until the 1970's the library maintained a separate entrance and circulation just for the children.  The current single entrance has now been consolidated to the second floor.

The Upham's Corner Library continues to function unfailingly, making excellent use of its limited physical plant. The Children's Room is very nice because of its multi-level format, as created by the original swimming pool.



First level of library (entry room)

Children's Room (downstairs)
What comes to mind when you hear the word "library" is most likely the inside of the building and where to go to find your favorite books.  But before you can find your books, you have to be able to FIND THE LIBRARY.   Makes sense, doesn't it?

Most of the branches of the Boston Public Library are housed in exceptional buildings, some with award-winning designs.  Each building is meant to communicate a series of messages to the public:
  • This is a library
  • This is a branch of the Boston Public Library
  • Name of the branch
  • You are welcome here
  • Decorated windows - You will have a good time.  "Isn't this beautiful?"
  • Grandeur of the building - You sense the importance of the library.  "This place is amazing."
  • Sleek design of the building - You feel like you want to come in.  "Wow.  I really want to know what's inside."
As members of the community we "take pride" in the appearance of the library and speak about it accordingly.
Hi.  I'm from out of town. 

I'd like to visit the Upham's Corner Library.  How do I get there?


"Drive down Columbia Road," we're told.  "It's at the corner of Bird Street and Columbia Road."

So we drive down the road, park and walk to the front entrance.


This is a really impressive building but the inscription reads:  Municipal Building" not library.

Where's the library?
We go inside.


Up the stairs, through the doors.  Another set of stairs and even more stairs ahead. 

Still no sign that says: "Library."  Where's the library?



Up a small flight of stairs to the second floor landing.  There, to the left, a nicely decorated wall that says: "Upham's Corner Library"

Inside we ask the librarian:  "Why aren't there any signs outside?"
 She says:  "There are signs.  Didn't you see the flags?"





Back outside, we find out she was right.

Three flags on both sides of the building:
  • Bird Street Community Center
  • Boston Public Library
  • Upham's Corner Health Center

Where is the beautiful masonry-carved name of the library for all the world to see?

From a streetscape perspective, the Upham's Corner library barely exists!
 As commendable as this is, it is not the standard by which the other branches in the Boston Public Library system are made to operate.  No other branch is so completely hidden from the street as much as this one is.  No other branch has such limited facilities.

The population served by the Upham's Corner Library is between 25,000 and 35,000.  Two rooms of 4,400 square feet is inadequate to serve this population properly.  A building without adequate signage (even if everyone knows where the library is) gives the wrong message to the community.

Yes, it is time for our library to be resurrected anew.

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