Boston Public Library
Strategic Planning

The BPL Compass

Category Archives: Strategic Plan

Strategic Plan Implementation: Sustainable Organization

Posted on October 29th, 2014 by admin in Outcomes, Strategic Plan
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bpl-compass-report-cover-200As part of the Sustainable Organization principle, one of the library’s outcomes is to work with other libraries and related organizations to contribute to the future of librarianship. ReadersFirst and Library Simplified are two international initiatives that the BPL has been involved with since their inceptions. ReadersFirst is an organization of nearly 300 library systems representing 200 million readers dedicated to ensuring that library users have the same free and easy access to e-books that they have come to rely on with physical books. As a founding member of ReadersFirst, the BPL continues to serve on the ReadersFirst Leadership Group. In January 2013, ReadersFirst published the Guide to Library E-Book Vendors. The guide informs libraries about different e-book vendors by rating vendors in variety of different categories. Some categories include: the ability to suspend a hold, format availability, and vendor compatibility with ILS/ discovery systems like Polaris and Bibliocommons. Current projects include an updated version of the guide and a website redesign. For more about ReadersFirst or to read the guide, visit readersfirst.org.

The BPL is a partner institution in the Library Simplified project, an IMLS-funded initiative led by the New York Public Library to improve access to e-book collections through better technology and innovative lending practices. The ultimate goal of the project is to develop a mobile and tablet-based platform for e-book discovery and reading that allows users to access content in “three clicks or less.” Through partnerships with libraries across the country as well as organizations such as the Readium Foundation and the International Digital Publishing Forum, Library Simplified hopes to provide an open-source, non-commercial alternative for libraries to use to deliver e-book services. For more information, please visit www.librarysimplified.org.

Strategic Plan Implementation: Sustainable Organization

Posted on October 23rd, 2014 by admin in Outcomes, Strategic Plan
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bpl-compass-report-cover-200One of the ways the BPL fulfills the Sustainable Organization principle and the accompanying outcome “Evaluate business practices and workflow to optimize efficiency” is through streamlining workflow in the collections, technology, and resource sharing areas. With the migration to a new integrated library system and the gradual expansion of the Digital Services operations, many workflows have changed over the past few years. With the anticipated opening of the Archival Center to the public, workflows will adjust once more. Some, but not all, of the efficiencies achieved are the result of new technology. Thorough training and hands-on experience have enabled staff members to learn to complete complicated tasks quickly and efficiently.

Strategic Plan Implementation: Special Collections

Posted on October 16th, 2014 by admin in Outcomes, Strategic Plan
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bpl-compass-report-cover-200One of the ways the BPL fulfills the Special Collections principle and the accompanying outcome “Special collections will be discoverable by users in buildings and online” is through consolidating and moving off-site storage space to the City of Boston Archival Center, and adding public access. Library operations at the City of Boston Archival Center in West Roxbury are getting close to being open for public service. All the materials that were previously at the Charlestown service building and in the Norwood facility are now at the Archival Center. Well over one million of those items have been completely cleaned and already shelved on the high-density shelves, and in the near future the rest of those materials will be shelved. In addition to the materials that were formerly in the Charleston and Norwood buildings, tens of thousands materials that were previously housed at the Central Library have also been transferred to the Archival Center. While it will take some time to clean, accession, and shelve all those items, the goal is to process them as quickly as possible.

Strategic Plan Implementation: Sustainable Organization

Posted on October 14th, 2014 by admin in Outcomes, Strategic Plan
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bpl-compass-report-cover-200One of the ways the BPL fulfills the strategic plan’s Sustainable Organization principle is to act on the strategy “Enhance volunteer and docent programs.” That strategy is part of the outcome “Seek out and establish partnerships that enhance services.” The BPL Art and Architecture tour program is actively recruiting and training new guides to add to the corps of 32 active volunteers. Each trainee enters a process of shadowing experienced guides, studying material from the tour guide library, and constructing their own tour under the mentorship of the tour coordinator and a veteran docent. This one-on-one model follows a training and enrichment class offered for both new and experienced guides in the 2012-2013 season. By summer 2015, the goal to increase the active volunteer number to 50.

Throughout the year, the program offers bi-monthly enrichment sessions for all Art and Architecture guides and trainees. Sessions include relevant lectures with conservators, curators, and authors, as well as field trips to museums and historic sites. At each session, there is an opportunity for guides to gather around light refreshments, and the annual guide appreciation party in December allows volunteers to further strengthen their bond with the program and with each other.

Strategic Plan Implementation: Community Gathering

Posted on October 8th, 2014 by admin in Outcomes, Strategic Plan
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bpl-compass-report-cover-200One of the ways the BPL fulfills the strategic plan’s Community Gathering principle and the accompanying outcome “Link community members to library programs and services within the BPL system and beyond” and the strategy “Position library as a community information node linking library users to other resources in their communities” is through providing library program-centered and community information-centered bulletin boards and information tables in all locations. Each month, staff review the boards to remove outdated information and add new information. The community uses these bulletin boards and tables to get information about library programs, but also to learn about programs and services in the neighborhood. On a recent visit to the Jamaica Plain Branch, for example, users could find out how to join the Friends, when the next story time was happening, or get connected to community members who were selling bikes, looking for a nanny, or starting a knitting meet-up group. At the Mattapan Branch, visitors can find out about upcoming laptop classes, movie nights, and job opportunities in the neighborhood. Community bulletin boards are one good way to connect users to resources in the library as well as out in the community.