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Plan to Rename Jamaica Plan Library Children’s Room After Longtime Children’s Librarian

Last updated on June 30, 2024

Throughout Barbara Rhodes 30 years as the children’s librarian at the Jamaica Plain Branch Library, she recommended many titles — and now the room where she worked will most likely be retitled in her honor.

Barbara Rhodes, retired children's librarian at the JP Branch Library, in the new "tween space" at the renovated facility on Saturday, May 20, 2017.

Rhodes passed away in May earlier this year, and many people shared their fond memories of how helpful and caring she was whenever they went to the library.

While Rhodes was in hospice care, the Friends of the Jamaica Plain Branch Library voted unanimously on May 16 in support of renaming the children’s room after her.

On June 16, the Boston City Council unanimously supported a resolution sponsored by District 6 City Councilor Ben Weber in support of the Friends’ to rename the room in Rhodes’ honor.

The proposal still needs official approval from Mayor Michelle Wu, Boston Public Library President David Leonard and the BPL Trustees, a process expected to be completed by the end of the summer.

The resolution stated:

As the Children’s Librarian at the Jamaica Plain Branch, Barbara brought her love of books and stories to innumerable children and their families. Her work as Children’s Librarian was a significant part of the branch’s popularity.

Barbara played a pivotal role in expanding the library’s programming to better engage with BIPOC and LGBTQ+ youth, bringing Boston-based social justice group Wee the People, among others, to the library.

In addition to creating special programming for her weekly preschool storytime, Barbara also created programming for Kids Club, the JP homeschooling community, and made “crafts-to-go” kits for neighborhood children when the Library was closed during the COVID-19 pandemic

Barbara was a founding Advisory Member of JP Reads, a community-building initiative to explore an individual book through a range of programming. She enlisted other librarians to join JP Reads and created all of the children’s programming for the initiative

Barbara was recognized by the City of Boston for her work as a recipient of the 2023 Shattuck Public Service Award for dedicating her time, talents and wisdom to improving the lives of children throughout the City.

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