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I first learned about the Chinatown Lantern Educational and Cultural Center in late 2011. The volunteer coordinator at BCNC, knowing that I was enrolled at Simmons, mentioned the project: after several decades of going without a neighborhood branch library, Chinatown’s community was creating one for itself. The project sounded exciting, and soon afterwards I met with Alice Leung, the start-up manager for the Reading Room. I was excited about the opportunity to put into practice the skills and knowledge that I’d picked up at library school, and jumped in.

Working with the Lantern was rewarding; I contributed towards the launch of the Reading Room in a variety of ways, from designing library cards & creating a library card application form, to participating in the cataloging system analysis & choice, to participating in the classification system analysis & choice based on the Lantern’s holdings, to helping to plan & execute the opening event. I gained experience with LibraryThing, learned a lot about Koha and Evergreen, and helped to plan & execute the classification system for the Lantern’s approximately 8,000 volumes.

I met community members within Chinatown and volunteers from all over Boston, each of whom dedicated their time and talent to launching the Reading Room. The opening event in April proved that the effort was worthwhile: the ample assortment of refreshments ran out, evidence of the community’s enthusiasm for their long-awaited library.

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