Story by Marianne Salza
Lauren Lapanto is happy to have returned to the West End Branch Library on February 13 in a new role as lead librarian. She is excited to see familiar faces welcoming her back, and hopes more people will visit the library to take advantage of the opportunities that the West End Branch provides.
“I know many of the patrons, but I want more to come in. We want to get the word out that we’re here,” announced Lepanto. “If people have an interest in anything, we can help them. I told my staff the other day, we want to say ‘yes’ to people.”
Lepanto served as a children’s librarian at the West End Branch before becoming the branch librarian in the South End. Now as the branch librarian for the West End, Lepanto’s goal is to continue offering more activities to residents and connect with other local organizations.
“The Boston Public Library is a department of the city. We want to help the city with all its services, and help constituents come in contact with city government,” Lepanto explained about her mission to offer more neighborhood services.
The West End Branch provides community support groups, English as a Second Language courses, and also hosts ABCD (Action for Boston Community Development) weekly food pantries.
There are arts and crafts and Children’s Story Time for infants, toddlers, and preschoolers.
The community can listen to lectures, join Movie Mondays at West End to view recent cinema releases, partake in book clubs and discussions, and learn American Mahjong with Friends of the West End Library.
“I do an online film discussion called Kanopy Club. It’s an online streaming service. There are a lot of great films,” Lepanto described. “People stream a film at home. Then we have an online meeting on Zoom and discuss the film. It’s awesome.”
Lepanto grew up in New Jersey. She attended college in Connecticut, where she majored in art history and English, and interned at a local newspaper in Hartford. Lepanto assisted at an art auction house in New York before relocating to Boston in 1982.
When Lepanto first moved to Boston, she worked at the Pine Street Inn, in the South End, while earning her master’s degree in Library and Informational Science at Simmons University.
Lepanto is a mother of 29-year-old twin sons, and grandmother of 10-year-old Eva and 2-year-old Lorenzo. The Red Sox fan’s favorite literary genre to read is fiction; but she also enjoys indulging in non-fiction about topics such as food policies.
“I read a lot and like to cook. I bake sourdough bread,” shared Lepanto, a Dorchester resident. “I practice yoga. It’s important to my life. I love music and go out to hear rock and roll and alternative at smaller clubs and bars.”
Starting April 22, the West End Branch will be presenting a Gentle Flow Yoga program on Saturdays, 10-11am.
“I’m looking to do more. We have a lot of families and care givers coming with little kids. Beacon Hill and West End neighbors come in. A lot of hospital workers and people working in government buildings visit during their lunch hours,” revealed Lepanto. “I’m trying to see what community needs we have. The library wants to connect them with books, ideas, interests, and services.”
Visit the West End Branch Library, 151 Cambridge Street, Boston, Monday – Wednesday 10am-6pm, Thursdays 12-8pm, Fridays 9am-5pm, and Saturdays 9am-2pm. Learn about upcoming events, resources, and programming by visiting www.BPL.org, calling (617) 523-3957, or emailing [email protected].