Chinatown Lantern reading room to go dark in March

Joan Chen, library staffer at the Chinatown Lantern reading room. Image by Ling-Mei Wong.

Joan Chen, library staffer at the Chinatown Lantern reading room. Image by Ling-Mei Wong.


By Ling-Mei Wong


The Chinatown Lantern reading room will close Feb. 25 after 10 months, as funding from a one-time grant ended.

“It’s been pretty fun meeting new people,” said Joan Chen, library staffer at the Lantern since September 2012. “I’m a little sad too, as a lot of elderly patrons ask about the next round of English lessons, which are coming to an end.”

The space at 888 Washington Street is provided by the Asian Community Development Corporation, which owns the Oak Terrace apartment complex. Children’s and young adult books will be left for residents to read, while historical books or rare Chinese titles will be stored for placement at a permanent location, Chen said.

“We originally sought to develop a cultural and educational center for art, music and drama,” said Stephanie Fan, Chinatown Lantern Executive Committee member. “Now that we’ve completed this pilot, we know how the community uses the space.”

More than 5,000 visitors stopped by the Lantern for computer classes, English conversation lessons and children’s programs for storytelling, check and checkers and homework tutoring, according to a prepared statement. Nearly all services were performed by more than 100 volunteers over 1,000 hours.

“It’s really a worthwhile project,” Chen said. “You get to know the community.”

To follow or volunteer at the Chinatown Lantern, please visit

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About Ling-Mei Wong 黃靈美

Editor of the Sampan, the only bilingual Chinese-English newspaper in New England 舢舨報紙總編輯。舢舨是全紐英倫唯一的中英雙語雙週報。
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