In this section of the BPL Compass blog, we bring you profiles of community members whose efforts are connected to principles in the strategic plan.
Posted on August 3rd, 2012 by Gina Perille in Profiles
Tags: Children and Teens
Although she was 24 before she realized her true calling, Angela Bonds has always loved the library. “It was librarians who got me enthusiastic about the library,” she recalls. Early in her career, when she worked in circulation and shelving, she loved spending time in the teen room of the Central Library in Copley Square —“even when I wasn’t working,” she says. “I liked watching the interactions of the kids, and even shelving books in the children’s room was so much fun. I liked the hustle and bustle and being asked for book suggestions.”
Today, Angela is thrilled to be a new children’s librarian for the Boston Public Library. “I want to make sure kids have a good time in the library,” she says. To accomplish that, she hopes to find “fun ways to connect” with young people, from story hours and showing movies based on books to providing out-of-school time experiences.
Serving a mix of age groups is one of the rewards of her job. “Seeing kids go from babies to teens is exciting,” she says. “Maybe someday one of them will become a librarian.”
Posted on July 30th, 2012 by Gina Perille in Profiles
Tags: Children and Teens
The Boston Public Library’s Teen Council was formed to help teenagers engage their peers in library activities. Comprised of eight to 20 members, the Teen Council meets weekly to plan programs such as talent shows, computer workshops, video games, special-interest clubs, and poetry slams for the teen room, a dedicated space for teenagers at the Central Library in Copley Square.
“The teen room is a place where we can hang out and have fun in a safe environment,” explains John Nguyen, a senior in high school in South Boston who is also a current member of the Teen Council. John discovered the library only a couple of years ago, when a sophomore project led him to the Central Library. He went inside and “the lines connected,” as he puts it. “I started enjoying reading books again.”
Currently, the Teen Council is spearheading the making of a Hollywood-style movie, from start to finish. “All the teens are involved in it,” says John. The Teen Council is also giving him an opportunity to practice public speaking— a skill he’ll rely on as he pursues his dream of becoming a community leader.
“The library is a fun place,” he says.
Posted on July 27th, 2012 by Gina Perille in Profiles
As head of the communications office, Gina is responsible for the Boston Public Library’s internal and external communications. “It is always someone’s first time walking into the Boston Public Library and interacting with us online,” says Gina. “We have opportunities each and every day to introduce ourselves to new users and to demonstrate our relevance to long-time library card holders.”
One of the ways Gina has expanded the library’s conversation with the public is through social media. “Communications tools like Twitter, Facebook, and Foursquare provide the opportunity to directly connect with readers and visitors. It’s one of the elements of my job that I enjoy the most. The Boston Public Library has a lot of personality and social media is a fun way to show it.”
Gina says that there is no shortage of content to share or programs to highlight. “My colleagues never cease to amaze me with their creative programming and strong core services. Whether it’s an exhibition of the library’s holdings, a best-selling author visit, or a new literacy experience for children, there are wonderful things happening at the Boston Public Library each day.”
Posted on July 25th, 2012 by Gina Perille in Profiles
Tags: Access and Innovation
If you ever sit down at one of the free computers at the Boston Public Library, you might not realize what it takes to keep those computers humming. And not just the computers available to the public, but also all the administrative technology.
Among those charged with maintaining and updating the library system’s more than 600 computers plus copiers and printers is technical specialist Julio Chang, who has been with the library full-time for more than 15 years. “We try to help patrons satisfy their needs,” Julio says. “Technology keeps moving ahead, and we try to implement these changes in a way that’s easy to use.” That includes providing training for patrons and staff alike.
Julio points out that the library’s computers also offer special services to library patrons. “We get a lot of tourists who use the express terminal to print passes and find directions,” he cites as an example. Julio also enjoys lending a hand directly to library users—such as recently, when a woman had trouble printing a PDF file due to a problem with the website she was accessing. “I was able to go to my office, print off the document from my own computer, and hand it to her,” Julio says. “It’s all about customer satisfaction.”
Posted on July 24th, 2012 by Gina Perille in Profiles
Tags: Access and Innovation
A native of Venezuela, Zamawa Arenas spent part of her childhood in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where she discovered that the library “mattered to me,” as she puts it. So when she moved to Boston from Venezuela to obtain a Master’s degree at Boston University, “the first thing I did was get a BPL library card,” she says. “It was a place to start connecting with the city.”
Today, Zamawa is the Principal of ARGUS, a Boston-based multidisciplinary communications company specializing in multicultural markets. She has proven herself a far-sighted strategist. For example, prior to ARGUS in 1996, she helped launch the first art-house pay-per-view movie service on the internet—long before the creation of Netflix and Hulu.
Zamawa brought those visionary skills to bear on the Boston Public Library’s Strategic Planning Committee. “The library is doing a great job of being forward-thinking,” she says. “Establishing itself as a venue for digital content is critical for the library to expand and grow.”
To Zamawa, that focus on digitization benefits not only future generations of library users, but also the city’s many different cultural groups. “The demographics of the city have changed dramatically,” she points out. “We need to be mindful of inclusiveness and serving people of all ages and backgrounds. To me, the most rewarding aspect of my involvement with the library is seeing it alive with users and seeing how they enjoy going online.”