Strategic Planning

The BPL Compass

Johnson Building Improvement Project: Popular browsing area

by Michael Colford

A popular browsing area is evolving into an important part of the library experience on the first floor of the Johnson Building. It had previously been referred to a “Space X” and the “living room.” The purpose of this space is to serve the reader, the lifelong learner, and the browser in a manner that the best bookstores have been so successful. It will be open and inviting, allowing easy flow between such spaces as the lobby, circulation services , and the other important services on the first floor such as Tech Central and the Training Lab.

Some key components to the successful deployment of this space include:

  • Library services in the Johnson Building at a branch scale
  • Engaging space with inviting street view
  • Bookstore browsing experience
  • New books on display, themed displays, popular collections
  • New fiction and nonfiction, biographies, large print
  • Open, engaging, strong merchandising component, continually refreshed
  • Comfortable seating for reading and browsing
  • Flexible space for author programming
  • Staff and technology to engage readers with reading recommendations
  • 3 – 4 public catalogs, 1 small staff workstation

Please let us know what you think about this evolving concept by commenting on this post, sending an email to,  a letter to the BPL via 700 Boylston Street, Boston MA 02116.

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