Boston Public Library
Strategic Planning

The BPL Compass

Category Archives: Outcomes

Strategic Plan Implementation: Special Collections

Posted on December 12th, 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 of the strategic plan and the outcome Special collections will be discoverable by users in buildings and online is through creation of a three-year plan to make items and collections discoverable in the online catalog, including retrospective conversion (the process of converting catalog cards into electronic format) and in-house cataloging.

For many years now, the BPL has been working on the retrospective conversion of items not reflected in the online catalog. Earlier in 2014, the Trustees approved continuing the project for another three years. In addition to the tens of thousands of MARC records (a MARC record is a machine-readable cataloging record) created by a vendor, the Technical Services team also continuously creates records for these older titles and add them into the BPL catalog. Staff work on materials that are being digitized and on special projects. Some of the types of materials worked on include:

  • Antislavery pamphlets and manuscript correspondence
  • Genealogy materials
  • Chap books
  • Old cookbooks
  • French language rare books.

According to records, the Technical Services team has cataloged 31,583 titles and processed 37,036 items to date. Once Technical Services is done, the Digital Services team digitizes these materials. The process is then completed by inserting the URL to the digital resource into the MARC file so that all these materials are fully discoverable and viewable in the library’s online catalog.

Strategic Plan Implementation: Children and Teens

Posted on December 8th, 2014 by admin in Outcomes, Strategic Plan
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bpl-compass-report-cover-200One of the ways the Children and Teens principle of the strategic plan and the outcome Collaborate with area organizations on early learning experiences is fulfilled involves  expanded outreach to special institutions that serve children. The BPL collaborates with many organizations on a systemwide and local neighborhood level to offer early learning experiences in all locations. In addition to the well established “Reading Readiness” program that takes place at all BPL locations, several youth librarians have expanded their reach into early learning programs with these organizations:

  • Family Nurturing Center: The center offers play groups for infants and toddlers aged 0-3 at the Grove Hall, Honan-Allston, Faneuil, and Brighton branches.
  • Dudley Thrive in Five: Children’s librarians at Dudley, Grove Hall, Mattapan, and Uphams Corner work with Thrive in Five staff to provide programming to parents that is directed at helping them as they learn to be their child’s first teacher. This nationally-recognized program helps provide opportunities for parents to support young children’s healthy growth, development, and school readiness.
  • Boston Medical Center bWell Center: The library continues its partnership with the bWell Center by providing a rotating book collection focusing on health and wellness. Children’s librarians also read to kids in the waiting room of the Pediatrics Department and sign up kids and families for library cards.
  • Boston Children’s Hospital: Launched in 2014 by Youth Outreach Librarian Amanda Bressler, the library began offering early literacy programming to staff and patients based on national early learning initiatives “Every Child Ready to Read” and “Mother Goose on the Loose.”

Strategic Plan Implementation: Fun

Posted on November 26th, 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 Fun principle and the accompanying outcome to “Connect people to popular books, music, films, and artwork – whether the materials are brand new or simply new to select audiences,” is through book discussion groups. Boston Public Library staff members facilitate 12 distinct book groups for adults across the BPL system. Some groups have themes – Hyde Park’s “Reading Around the World;” Parker Hill’s “books based on movies” – and some groups take turns choosing titles. Books include fiction, nonfiction, best-sellers and award-winners. The Central Library in Copley Square hosts a successful book group in Chinese. Attendance varies from intimate groups of 5 readers to the West Roxbury Branch group with 48 participants. It is wonderful to share books and reading via this core library service.

Strategic Plan Implementation: Center of Knowledge

Posted on November 18th, 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 Center of Knowledge principle and the accompanying outcome to “Expand adult literacy volunteer and mentor program,” is through the coordination of ESL Conversation Groups across the library system. There are currently 40 volunteer-led, drop-in conversation groups running weekly, giving immigrants and visitors the opportunity to practice speaking English and the chance to develop relationships and network with people who have similar goals and needs. These groups are in high demand and attract several hundred attendees per month. They represent one of the most successful, continually-running programs at the library. The BPL’s Conversation Groups program is also unique in the City of Boston as a whole, where many other agencies and organizations offer literacy programs.

In addition to the ESL Conversation Groups, the BPL also succeeds in reaching the strategic plan’s adult literacy outcome through the provision of the Small Group Mentoring Program. At present, there are 25 groups across the library system (no-more-than 5 students at a time) that meet with volunteer mentors to learn English. Free tutoring sessions like these, tailored to students’ specific needs, are vital to patrons citywide.

Strategic Plan Implementation: User-Centered Institution

Posted on November 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 User-Centered Institution principle and the accompanying outcome to “plan and initiate services in other languages — online and in print” is to provide to users Spanish, French, and Mandarin Chinese translations of our patron laptop-lending contract.

Borrowing laptops to use at our branch locations has become a tremendously popular service, and as a result of these translations, the BPL can invite even more participation from many of our non-English speaking/reading community members. Additional languages will be coming this fiscal year.