Boston Public Library
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Category Archives: Library Services

Central Library Renovation: Children’s Library

Posted on March 7th, 2014 by Beth Prindle in Johnson Building Study, Library Services, Major Projects
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Ask the BPL’s youngest visitors about the most exciting area currently under construction?  It’s the new Children’s Library on the second floor, of course. At 9,500 square feet, this expansive and welcoming new space for kids and caregivers will be nearly double the size of the current children’s room. The Children’s Library will be filled with opportunities for children to read, create, play, explore, and learn together. Plans for a dedicated area for infants and toddlers feature cozy furniture, stacks of books and toys for little ones, and a variety of experience-based learning materials designed to stimulate young minds. Story time for young readers will be extra-special as they explore the land of make believe in a custom-built nook. The spacious program room calls out for kid creativity with room for crafts, performances, workshops, and much more. Tweens will have their own dedicated space for homework, reading, and hanging out with friends. And that’s not all—more fun, whimsical surprises are in the works.

A rendering of the new Children's Library.

A rendering of the new Children’s Library.

 

Making E-books Easier

Posted on March 3rd, 2014 by Scot Colford in Library Services, Technology, Web Services
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One of our most popular services is our e-book collection, but for many years, library users faced some unexpected complications managing the digital items they borrowed. For instance, if you wanted to search for something to read but didn’t mind whether it was in digital or physical format, you could search our online catalog. However, once you found an e-book you wanted, you would be directed to an entirely different site to check out and download the title. If you wanted to continue searching all formats, you’d have to leave the OverDrive site to switch back to the full catalog. Furthermore, you used to have to check two places if you wanted to see how your holds queues were progressing for digital and physical titles.

Considering our Compass principle of Access and Innovation, we’ve made it a priority to make the whole e-book process easier. Now, if you find a digital title in our online catalog, you can check its availability, place a hold on it, or check it out without being shuttled off to another site. Want to know what you’ve got checked out? It’s all there in the My BPL section. You can even manage all your pending holds from that same location.

e-book record

Of course, there are still some valid reasons you may want to use our OverDrive site. But even that experience has been streamlined. The new design of the OverDrive site released last month features smarter search results, lets you check out titles with fewer clicks, and even allows you to start reading immediately in your web browser. The design of the site adapts to the device you’re on as well, so you can do the same things on your smartphone as you can on your tablet or computer.

We hope you’re enjoying the improvements we’re making in our online services and we intend to keep removing as many barriers to digital access as we can.

East Boston Branch: First 100 days of service

Posted on February 24th, 2014 by Christine Schonhart in Branches, Collections, Library Services
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The new East Boston Branch opened on November 2, 2013, and the first two months of service saw over 23,000 visitors. People of all ages and from all walks of life have come to the branch to read, use the computers, attend a story time, get a free museum pass, and to marvel at the beauty of this new neighborhood landmark. Computer use by all ages has certainly been popular as have the variety of programs for all ages. The collection has grown by the thousands since opening day. Each month new books, DVDs and CDs are added and it’s evident that the collection is responsive to community interests by the following facts:

  • On average, 34% of the collection is in circulation at any time – this is the highest in entire system, even higher than the Central Library
  • In November 2013 alone, the number of books, movies and CDs borrowed was 28% more than the November 2012 circulation of the former East Boston and Orient Heights branches combined
  • Over 20% of books are checked out at the self-check kiosks
  • Juvenile DVDs are in highest demand with 59% of that collection in use, on average
  • Juvenile easy books and early chapter books follow in highest demand at 57% in use
  • 41% of the children’s picture book collection is in use at any given time.

William Rawn, Architects, the City of Boston and the Library are finishing up some small ‘punch list’ items including installing lights on study tables, addressing some air vent noise in the quiet room, and installing additional signage. Community support and dialogue about the new branch has been strong. The East Boston Times ran several articles about the $25,000 Massport programming donation, the Friends fundraising efforts for the Frederick Leonard King paintings, and profiles of users of the branch. In the coming months, the Library will be highlighting additional user profiles and their stories as well as promoting the various programs for kids, teens and adults. The Friends have also begun conservation efforts on the first of the Frederick Leonard King paintings and we look forward to seeing it back in the branch when fully restored.

Branch Librarian, Margaret Kelly reports that overwhelmingly, the community has shown great support of the library. The staff sees about 50-60 children and teens from the local schools each day; patrons report loving the book drop as it offers them an opportunity to return books off-hours that they didn’t have before; and the teens are especially excited about the new PS4 video game system that is coming to the branch soon. The first 100 days were filled with greeting old friends and making new ones, teaching classes and preparing story time, learning new systems and procedures, getting to know new staff members, and figuring out all the ins and outs of a new building. The increased demand for services has been an adjustment as well, but one that the staff has fully embraced.

First 100-day quotables:

  • Jill on Facebook said: “I can not wait to visit our new and improved East Boston Branch of the Boston Public Library!”
  • Branch patron said “When I come here, I feel like this is what it must be like to work at Google.”
  • Teens lounging in the Teen Room said “We love it here, we didn’t go to the old branch because there wasn’t a good spot for us, we like this one.”
  • A Yelp user reviewed: “My third time here since I moved to Boston. I finally got my Boston library card. And I’m sooooo excited.”
  • From this blog: “Thank you for this beautiful library. I am so proud that East Boston residents have this wonderful resource.”

Central Library Renovation: Teen Central

Posted on February 21st, 2014 by Christine Schonhart in Johnson Building Study, Library Services, Major Projects
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Plans for the new Teen Central space on the second floor of the Central Library have been heating up this winter. Library staff have met with the architects and Teen Council several times to review floor plans, collections, furniture, and technology for the new space. Teens are especially excited about two new features:  the game lounge – where teens will be able to take on their friends in the virtual game world – and the digital lab – where teens can let their creativity fly making movies, music, video games. and more.  Teen Central will have a very distinctive feel from the rest of the second floor with a more loft-inspired design. View the floor plan below to see all the different places young people can hang out, geek out, and mess around at Teen Central.

BPL teen central floor plan

Menino Learning Lab Coming to the Hyde Park Branch

Posted on January 14th, 2014 by Christine Schonhart in Branches, Library Services
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Thanks to a generous donation from the Boston Municipal Research Bureau, the small homework room in the children’s library at the Hyde Park branch will receive a much needed facelift and be dedicated to Thomas M. Menino.

The room, located just off the main children’s room, is currently used by homework mentors, ESL groups, a tween book club and as a small study room. The space will be designed with this need for flexibility in mind with new furniture, paint, flooring, writable wall spaces, storage, and fun graphics on the walls. This will be a fitting tribute to a Mayor who was so dedicated to children and learning, and is a great fit with the Library’s mission of the advancement of learning.

The project is expected to be complete in spring 2014.