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This week: BPL and DOT

In this week's Reporter:

-- Why did state Sen. Jack Hart walk out of a meeting with state transportation officials? Answer in link.

-- Anger over potential library branch closures continues to mount. The Boston Public Library trustees will vote on closure proposals tomorrow morning, along with the library system's fiscal 2011 budget.

A group organizing against the closures, People of Boston Branches, is circulating an analysis by one of their members, Sam Zager, using census data from 2000. They say the census dat shows that the city's poor and less educated residents would be "further disadvantaged" by the proposed plan to cut four libraries. In an emailed release, they say his analysis shows that the plan "to close 4 libraries (Faneuil, Lower Mills, Orient Heights, and Washington Village Branch libraries) would affect zip codes where the education level is markedly lower. Specifically, 40.2% in at-risk branch census blocks had only HS diploma, and 23.3% had a college degree whereas 33.7% in rest of branch census blocks had only HS diploma, and 31.8% had college degree."

State lawmakers are also jumping in. Sen. Sonia Chang-Diaz penned an op-ed this week, writing, "However, even if we lose the projected $1.6 million [in state aid], I am not convinced that the large-scale closure of branches or reduction in hours is a necessary response. That’s because the largest chunks of the projected loss in state aid are in the first two of the categories mentioned above — neither of which goes to fund branch libraries."

State Rep. Linda Dorcena Forry, who lives up the street from the Lower Mills Library, has also weighed in with a blog post.

Information on the BPL's budget can be found here.