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Category Archives: Major Projects

Central Library Renovation Project (Johnson Building Improvement – Phase 1)

Posted on December 24th, 2013 by Eamon Shelton in Johnson Building Study, Major Projects
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We have now officially commenced the construction phase of the Johnson Building Improvement Project. Consigli Construction, the construction manager for the project, has begun setup or “mobilization” activities in the Johnson Building this week.

Consigli Construction - BPL Johnson Improvement Project logo

Consigli Construction – BPL Johnson Improvement Project tag

Over the next several weeks mobilization activities will include:

  • Building partition walls on the 2nd floor
  • Staging and set up
  • Delivery of construction trailers
  • Installation of construction fencing and barriers.

We thank you for your continued cooperation and patience as we prepare for this work. Visit to follow project progress. For specific questions, contact Eamon Shelton, Major Projects Program Manager, via email at

Central Library Renovation Fact Sheet

Posted on December 3rd, 2013 by Gina Perille in Johnson Building Study, Library Services, Major Projects
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Details about the Central Library renovation and the changes planned for the Johnson Building are included in the quick-reference project fact sheet, which is available for download. On the fact sheet, find information on the master plan process, first phase of construction, timeline, budget, as well as upcoming phases.

BPL central library renovation fact sheet 11.2013p1-300

PDF document, two pages (2 MB)

The library will continue to post updates on project progress via this blog.

Roundtable Recap: Johnson Building Improvement Project

Posted on November 27th, 2013 by Eamon Shelton in Johnson Building Study, Library Services, Major Projects
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At the November 14 roundtable, members of the public joined Boston Public Library staff for an interactive session to discuss the services that will be offered in the soon-to-be renovated spaces of the second floor of the Johnson Building.  Phase I of the project, which includes the second floor, is scheduled to begin next month.

Discussion topics included a review of the new Reference and Instruction area; an update on the Nonfiction, Reference, Children’s and Teen collections; and a look into Youth Services programs that are planned for the new spaces. The discussion topics were presented by Gianna Gifford, Manager of Reference and Instruction; Laura Irmscher, Chief of Collections Strategy; and Jessi Snow Coordinator of Youth Services.

The highlight of the program was an interactive question and answer session led by Christine Schonhart, Director of Library Services, Branches. Participants gathered around a physical model of the Johnson building to review the proposed design and discuss the services being offered in the spaces. Many participants stayed after the meeting to explore the model in detail and to continue the conversation about the programs.

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

Posted on November 20th, 2013 by Michael Colford in Collections, Johnson Building Study, Library Services, Major Projects
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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, 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.

You Asked. We’re Answering: Johnson Building Improvement Project

Posted on November 19th, 2013 by Gina Perille in Johnson Building Study, Library Services, Major Projects
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For many, many months, the library has been collecting comments and questions about the Johnson renovation project. The lastest version of the display in the Johnson atrium includes answers to some of the most frequently asked questions so far received. For those who aren’t able to make it into Copley Square to review and enjoy the display in person, we include the questions and answers here.

Power, Outlets – Will you be adding more places to plug in phones and laptops?

Absolutely. This was one of the most-requested things even before the Johnson renovation got started. There will be a significant increase in power available in the Johnson Building. We will be adding outlets and running power to specific furnishings so that individual devices can be charged from variety of locations.

Furnishings – Are there plans for more individual work tables? What about comfortable seating?

Yes. The first phase of construction calls for new, durable seating around the second-floor atrium and a large grouping of chair and table options within the nonfiction collection (also on the second floor). The chairs will be a mix of upholstered and non-upholstered options.

Restrooms – Will you add more bathrooms, please?

We certainly will. The first phase of construction includes new bathrooms on the second floor and in the children’s library. Later phases include new bathrooms on the first floor.

Sidewalk – Why not replace the brick sidewalk with something safer?

That is a terrific idea and is included in later phases of the project. The exterior of the Johnson Building is landmarked so we are in careful consultant with the Landmarks Commission about the look and feel of any new landscaping. An accessible entrance is a priority.

As always, please feel free to share your ideas by commenting on this blog, sending an email to, or mailing a letter to Boston Public Library, 700 Boylston Street, Boston MA 02116.