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Category Archives: Library Services

Central Library Renovation: Exterior Improvements

Posted on March 18th, 2014 by David Leonard in Johnson Building Study, Library Services, Major Projects
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Two of the Central Library Renovation Project’s key goals for master planning were to: “connect the library to the city,” and “to create an inviting first impression.” To put it mildly, these are unquestionably weak spots of the original Philip Johnson design, and goals which set high expectations for the renovations on the exterior of the building.

Components of the exterior renovation, now entering their final design stages include removal of almost all of the defensive granite screens on Boylston, Exeter and Blagden Streets, some of which may have a new but subtler life as paving elements. Additional features will include remodeled entrances, more energy efficient and transparent glass, with a less imposing framing structure, exterior furniture (including bike racks) and signage allowing the library experience to truly start on the outside of the building. Another creative proposal involves the use of high-limbed trees, to add a natural counterpoint to and reduce the severity of the building, all the while retaining appropriate levels of symmetry with the McKim building.

The planning team looks forward to continue its conversations with the Boston Landmarks Commission, who have jurisdiction over certain pieces of the project, and with neighborhood groups such as the Neighborhood Association of the Back Bay (NAAB) and many others. After all, statistics tell us that even today, in addition to users who consider the Central Library their main branch, 47% of all systemwide users also use the Central Library in addition to their neighborhood branch.

Rendering of the Johnson Building landscaping. Inset image: a view of Boylston Street from Exeter Corner.

Renderings of the Johnson Building exterior improvements. Inset image: a view depicting Boylston Street from vantage point of Exeter Street.

 

Dudley Branch entrance update

Posted on March 18th, 2014 by Christine Schonhart in Branches, Major Projects
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Dudley entrance

The first section of signage installed over the front doors of the Dudley Branch.

Work on improvements to the Dudley Branch of the Boston Public Library continue this week with the installation of the marquee signage on the building.

While this work is on-going, patrons may be asked to use a side entrance to get into the building. We thank you for your patience with this.

Also included in this project: new paint in the lobby, security cameras, improved lighting on the interior and exterior, and landscaping.

 

Central Library Renovation: Reference & Research

Posted on March 17th, 2014 by ggifford@private.bpl.org in Johnson Building Study, Library Services, Major Projects
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Let us help you, your friends, family, neighbors and colleagues with research questions and projects, information-gathering for work or for play, or with that trivia question that’s been driving you mad. Our brand new Research Desk on the renovated second floor of the Johnson Building will be open and modern in style, a welcoming spot where you can work with Library staff on the topics that interest you most. The area was designed to meet the needs of the researcher who may need a table on which to spread out and delve into books and materials, or a place to get help using the BPL’s dozens of online resources to hunt for jobs, scholarly journals, e-books, historical newspapers, genealogy, car repair videos, small business tips, or language learning programs. With brightly colored carpeting, textured ceiling, flexible study tables and seating, the Research area will be easy to spot from the top of the stairs near the 2nd floor elevators, or from the path into the Johnson Building from McKim. The reference collection and Research Desk will also share a serendipitous proximity to the Teen space that will make homework and project help even more convenient for teens and their families.

reference-area

Life as a Service Hub for the Digital Public Library of America

Posted on March 12th, 2014 by admin in Collections, Library Services, Strategic Plan, Technology
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by Tom Blake

With millions upon millions of items to potentially digitize at the BPL, you would think we would have enough on our plates. But, in our role as a Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) Service Hub, we have taken on the digitization of collections across the entire Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Any library, archives, museum, historical society, or other cultural heritage institution in the state is eligible for this service. We have already been engaged by over 150 different institutions seeking our help get their collections digitized and made available online.

Although it might seem strange or even imprudent to take on such a task in a day when resources can be stretched thin, we believe that extending our state-of-the-art digitization services beyond our walls significantly increases the value of our own collections.

06_01_002590.LARGEThe works of Lowell Mason are a perfect example. Boston Public Library’s music department holds significant materials by this turn of the century composer and teacher, and these materials are critical in understanding the history of public music education. The Lowell Mason Foundation, a small nonprofit organization based in Medfield, requested our services to have complementary items digitized. Once digitization is complete, these items will become unified, virtually, with the holdings of the BPL via Digital Commonwealth and the DPLA. As our materials are connected to these other resources, we will have created a more comprehensive online resource for researchers who otherwise would have had to travel to multiple locations. This ability to enable a high level of discoverability for small, local collections bolsters our position as a leader and an innovator for library services. This has been our reputation since our founding and a source of pride for Boston ever since.

Library Projects in the News: East Boston & Central Library

Posted on March 10th, 2014 by Gina Perille in Branches, Johnson Building Study, Library Services, Major Projects
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A pair of Boston Public Library’s major projects have been in the news recently. The Boston Globe architecture critic Robert Campbell wrote a review of the new East Boston Branch. In his review, Mr. Campbell wrote:

“This is the best small contemporary library I’ve seen anywhere.”

and

“Architecture always embodies a message. Here in East Boston, the message is a metaphor. The library floor is like a piece of land shared by many kinds of people under a soft bright sky. It embodies the truth, or maybe the hope, that with all our many differences we can be one community.”

 

The New York Times New England Bureau chief Katharine Q. Seelye wrote a feature article about the Central Library renovation.The sub-heading of Ms. Seelye’s article is “Boston and other cities turn sanctuary of the past into an information center of the future.” In the article, Ms. Seelye wrote:

“With a major renovation underway, this Copley Square institution is breaking out of its granite shell to show an airier, more welcoming side to the passing multitudes.”