Boston Public Library
Strategic Planning

The BPL Compass

Johnson Building Improvement Project: Why?

by Gina Perille

This project (project number #7018 of the City of Boston’s Property & Construction Management Department) is driven by the recognition of Johnson Building improvements needed to advance the Principles for Excellence outlined in the Boston Public Library’s strategic plan, the BPL Compass.

These include:

  • Underutilized space in need of refurbishment in order to provide library spaces that are inviting, stimulating, comfortable, clean, and safe
  • Longstanding physical barriers to transparency and engagement on Boylston and Exeter Streets, including granite screens separating the first floor of the building from the sidewalk
  • A commitment to reinvigorating the library user experience in order to attract and engage visitors by enabling easy and effective access to library services
  • An interest in exploring new revenue sources to supplement services and fund deferred maintenance.

Any redevelopment will seek a blend of library functions with potential commercial functions that creates a dynamic facility that is much more than the sum of its parts, and reinforces the image of the library as a superb source of knowledge accessible to all.

The unique significance of the mission, history, physical characteristics, and location of the Boston Public Library will be key factors in the project – there is only Central Library in Copley Square and its unique characteristics will be protected and leveraged through this project in order to enhance its position as one of the premier libraries in the world.

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