Boston Public Library
Strategic Planning

The BPL Compass

About the Collections – What’s happening upstairs with the books?

by Michael Colford

Many people have asked about the collections and what work has been done to prepare the collections for the renovation project. Much of the second-floor nonfiction book collection is being moved to the first floor in order to accommodate construction upstairs. At the same time, the team at the library has identified alternate locations for books and has continued its efforts on some much-needed collection maintenance. Boston Public Library uses this set of guidelines in making decisions about the collection:

  • Focus on the books most in demand to determine what is placed on browse-able shelves.
  • Move some collections to other parts of the Central Library for closer relationships to non-circulating collections. For example, circulating business books have been moved to the Kirstein Business Library. Circulating books in the areas of fine arts and music have been moved to the Arts department on the third floor of the McKim Building.
  • Move books of lasting historical value for research purposes and unique titles not available in other branch locations or in research collections to the City of Boston Archival Center. Books at the Archival Center will be available for request and use just like books available in any branch library.

Abundant duplicate copies, books that are physically damaged, and books that include obsolete and out-of-date information – such as older computer manuals and medical books – will be removed from the collection. Any books that are identified for removal will first be offered to the City-Wide Friends for their book sales. Next, the books are sent to the Internet Archive, a nonprofit library whose mission is to digitize all published information for storage and digitization. Books that the Internet Archive does not select will be sent through a third-party company to a variety of retail outlets, including Amazon.com, to be sold. Proceeds from these sales are returned to the BPL’s collections budget and used for library collections. Any books not sold or in poor condition will be recycled.

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One Response to “About the Collections – What’s happening upstairs with the books?”

  1. theszak says:

    The BPL Compass is little used. The format isn’t as usable as it could be with a better setup. What’s needed are a variety of online mechanisms for Boston Public Library users and staff. The delay of this format limits and makes this format less responsive. Our library should represent openness. How about a guide to problematical library use? A usability forum for library users and staff for identifying, recognizing their concerns, difficulties attempting to use our Boston Public Library. Compile perceptions of Boston Public Library services, transactions, collections.

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