Boston Public Library
Strategic Planning

The BPL Compass

Community Gathering

by Michael Colford

Another Compass Principle developed last fall states, The BPL exists to serve and sustain communities that foster discovery, reading, thinking, conversing, teaching, and learning, in accessible, sustainable, and welcoming facilities throughout the City, as well as with an engaging online presence. Listed below are a series of potential outcomes the library would like to accomplish in the coming months and years related to this principle.

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.

  • Campaign to update or renovate furnishings all locations
  • All locations comfortable, clean, inviting and safe
  • Partnerships focused on serving as venue for other organizations, unique activities
  • Allow liquids, coffee, in certain/more areas system-wide
  • Develop RFP model for programs and partnerships.  Each year BPL announces desired programming and seeks partnerships to support planned slate
  • BPL will bridge divides,  including technology, language, age, gender and different communities
  • BPL will provide collaborative opportunities to foster connections/relationships with local schools, businesses and improve coordination with city agencies such as – Boston Housing Authority, Boston Public Schools, Boston Centers for Youth and Families, Do It
  • BPL will spend time developing and fostering online communities through its catalog and social media
  • Web pages for branches highlighting their spaces, programs, staff, etc.
  • Big new signs for branches designating the branch name
  • Make sure all locations have clear sight lines – avoid shelves taller than people
  • Focus on collection strengths; fill gaps in existing collections
  • Focus on cultural heritage as it relates and is important to the non-researcher
  • The BPL is a key destination to visit and experience not only our artwork and museum-like qualities, but our vast and deep collections
  • BPL is committed to the preservation of the City’s local history and therefore will identify and develop appropriate collections in neighborhoods.
  • Collaborate with larger public community (in-house and online) to help describe collections and provide new information
  • Develop collection profiles that clearly and quickly identify holdings and ease serendipitous discovery – even place in catalog
  • Allow closed stacks materials to circulate

6 Responses to “Community Gathering”

  1. Don Haber says:

    Yes, something is definitely missing! What about making all of the library’s buildings accessible to everybody? For several years, I have raised the issue of needing to make all of the library’s buildings fully ADA compliant at numerous library and community meetings, yet that outcome is nowhere to be found on this list even though the Compass Principle clearly says that the goal is to provide “accessible … facilities throughout the City.” The BPL will never be “Free To All” as inscribed in granite on its facade unless and until every building in the system is fully ADA compliant and accessible to every person no matter what their physical limitations may be. Please include: “Make all library buildings fully ADA compliant” in your list of outcomes from which to choose.

  2. Abigail Norman says:

    I notice that you do not list one extremely important element to achieving accessibility: handicapped accessibility. Without this, so many people in Boston are not able to fully use the library, one of our most important resources. Please add this to your list.

  3. Peggy Hopper says:

    Access for the disabled is very important and rarely taken into account. Besides illnesses and accidents which can make a person permanently or temporarily disabled, just plain aging is often disabling. As I and my friends move through our 60 & 70′s and contemplate our futures, stairs will become impossible in many cases.

  4. Great suggestion, and clearly one that is vital to work toward as an outcome. Rest assured that we are keeping accessibility in mind and will add it to our outcomes.

  5. Upon further examination of the proposed outcomes, you will find reference to accessibility issues under User-Centered Institution (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), however we will definitely add something under Community Gathering as well.