Boston Public Library
Strategic Planning

The BPL Compass

Wayfinding at the Central Library in Copley Square

by Michael Colford

As a user-centered institution, the BPL is committed to improving the navigation and use of the Central Library through the design and implementation of a comprehensive wayfinding system. Whether you are a savvy veteran with many years of experience using the library  or a first-time user, we believe the building should be equally welcoming and easy to use.  This goal is a challenge in a facility of almost a million square feet which covers a city block and includes two distinct buildings.

The wayfinding scheme is based on a number of overarching principles:

  • Each building uses a different color scheme for its signage
  • Rooms are clearly marked
  • Elevators are identified by name
  • Hanging banners denote call number and subject areas
  • Directional and informational signs are strategically placed
  • All locations will be noted on a newly-designed map.

The library awarded the contract for this capital project to Arrowstreet, Inc. Visitors should begin to see the results sometime in the summer of 2013.

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3 Responses to “Wayfinding at the Central Library in Copley Square”

  1. Ener Hax says:

    Signage in a building is often taken for granted and is much harder to create in a meaningful manner for the visitor.

    Well done on your approach! =)

  2. Kathy Cahill says:

    That is wonderful. Are there methods of wayfinding for people with disabilities too (blind, visually impaired)?

    • Mary Frances O'Brien says:

      The entire wayfinding system will be ADA-compliant. We have followed the most recent ADA Standards for Accessible Design as published by the Department of Justice. These standards set guidelines for type style, type height, braille, sign locations, etc, and each sign in the program will be compliant.