Boston Public Library
Strategic Planning

The BPL Compass

The BPL is a User-Centered Institution

by Michael Colford

One of the Strategic Principles developed last fall states, The BPL is a user-centered institution with services that anticipate and respond to neighborhood interests and the changing demographics of the City and Commonwealth.  Listed below are a series of potential outcomes the library would like to accomplish in the coming months and years.

We’d love to hear what you think are the most important of these outcomes for the library to focus on.  Please pick three from this list and include them in a comment so we can take your thoughts into account.  In addition, as you read through these outcomes, if you think there’s something missing as it relates to the statement above, please suggest an additional outcome for us to add.  Next week we’ll be back with another principle and list of outcomes.

  • BPL will create and regularly maintain evaluative tools that measure satisfaction, use and service requests
  • Customers will be able to pay fines online (charge/debit), by integrating pay for services and print card with library card account
  • BPL will develop a patron-focused acquisition process
  • Usability studies will be developed and conducted so that web services can be designed with users in mind
  • Develop wayfinding system for easy navigation of institution
  • Through customer service training develop a staff that is reflective and/or understanding of community; truly engaging with users
  • Meet people where they are – in buildings, online, and in the community, including collections, programs and services
  • Equity in access service – Free to all
  • Bring people together as part of a single system
  • Sensitivity to multi-cultural, diverse population
  • BPL makes more strategic decisions on staff/resource allocations based upon maximum number of users to benefit (cost/benefit evaluations built into work plans)
  • More focus on accessibility in buildings for ADA
  • BPL develops services in languages other than English, not just flyers
  • Advisory – committee of interest groups – combo patrons and staff for research/acquisitions/programming, etc.
  • Use game-based philosophy to drive interaction with users to discover library  and Community Learning Initiative programs and locations  – Foursquare meets Facebook meets “Angry Birds”
  • More efficient /streamlined delivery system (of materials, etc. between locations)
  • BPL needs to be committed to serving people w/ special needs with a core commitment to universal design, expressed especially through the availability of assistive technology on all public computers (esp. magnification (zoom text) and text to speech). Access to track balls, speech to text (Dragon or others), optical magnification (such as Kurzweil), and other special assistive technologies should be easy and available everywhere.
  • Staff is customer focused to help patrons navigate information to get what they want and need
  • Programs that are driven by what the Communities want to see at their local branch

3 Responses to “The BPL is a User-Centered Institution”

  1. theszak says:

    How about stack tours, book delivery department tours at Boston Public Library like at NYPL !?… >New York Public Library Stack Tours | ALL-DAY EVENT! ASTOR HALL 11 a.m.; 12 noon; 1 p.m.; 2 p.m.; 3 p.m.; 4 p.m. In honor of the Centennial, NYPL is also opening up the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building’s fabled stacks, which are usually closed to the public! During guided stack tours, visitors will get a rare, behind-the-scenes glimpse of the miles of shelves that house the Library’s preeminent holdings. Sign up at the Information Desk in Astor Hall on the first floor. Tours will depart from the Deborah, Jonathan F. P., Samuel Priest, and Adam Raphael Rose Main Reading Room on the third floor. Limit: 40 people per tour http://exhibitions.nypl.org/100/programs

  2. theszak says:

    Welcoming visitors, library users needs improvement, regular library users as well. Replace a gratuitous demeanor with a better customers services approach. Backstage behind the scenes tours for professionals should be open to interested public. New York Public Library is offering tours of the fabled stacks there. We should similarly offer tours of BPL stacks and how the Book Delivery Division works. There should be a warmth and welcoming spirit replacing the officious qualities. Folks should be encouraged to investigate their public library!… and learn about the BPL operation in all divisions with a more open transparency than ever.

  3. David Vieira says:

    Ask BPL why they not only stopped staffing the reference desk at the McKim Building (Dartmouth Street ) entrance) but actually removed the desk station itself?

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