Boston Public Library
Strategic Planning

The BPL Compass

Category Archives: Outcomes

Strategic Plan Implementation: Special Collections

Posted on October 5th, 2014 by admin in Outcomes, Strategic Plan
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bpl-compass-report-cover-200One of the ways Boston Public Library fulfills the strategic plan’s Special Collections principle and the accompanying outcome to “Strengthen and grow collections and focus on existing strengths and geographic specialties” is to prioritize archiving, storing, and describing current collections over acquiring new ones. The library is in the process of cataloging two of the library’s notable special collections. The descriptive bibliographic records for these collections will be added to the library’s Polaris database so that patrons and scholars from all over the world will have access to these important resources.

Below are two collections in the works:

  1. Joan of Arc Collection: Joan of Arc as a historic figure, religious icon, and female warrior is represented in about 7,000 monographs related to her life. The material includes early Latin and French texts, histories, biographies, plays, novels, poetry, scores, and children’s books.
  2. John Merriam Collection: This collection consists of approximately 3,000 commercially published children’s books, all of which include illustrations by famous artists.

The Technical Services team anticipates these records will be fully loaded into Polaris by the end of the year.

Strategic Plan Implementation: Community Gathering

Posted on October 3rd, 2014 by admin in Outcomes, Strategic Plan
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BPL Compass Strategic Plan CoverBoston Public Library fulfills the strategic plan’s Community Gathering principle and the accompanying outcome to “Minimize the library’s environmental impact” through ongoing initiatives managed by its Facilities team. The goals include reducing overall expenditures on energy, reducing energy consumption through efficiency improvements — all in the face of currently rising energy costs — as well as a desire to use fewer natural resources and be better citizens of the planet. Much of the guidance for these efforts come from various incentives and grant programs, as well as a variety of Mayoral initiatives on energy and the environment. Recent accomplishments include the following:

  • Continued support of the City’s single-stream recycling program, with new receptacles being deployed at many locations.
  • Targeted measures in the area of water, steam, gas, and electric use. Recent analysis shows that the library has reduced its energy costs by 27% over the last five years through all of these efforts.
  • Ongoing collaboration with the City of Boston’s Energy and Environment and Property and Construction Management departments to improve existing and new systems.
  • Participation in the start up of the City’s new energy management system which will help all city agencies analyze data, view trends, and look to target problems in their energy utilization and billing data.
  • A longstanding participation in the city’s demand response program with EnerNOC program to combat periods of high electric demand.
  • Repair and or replacement of mechanical systems with more efficient and better utilization performance, such as the new cooling tower at the Central Library.
  • Ensuring adherence to LEED standards where possible in renovation projects.
  • Building management systems: twelve branches and multiple independent systems at the Central Library can now be monitored and managed via the library’s central building management system, reducing costs and ease of management.
  • Light fixtures: Projects have been completed at 13 locations including the many spaces at the Central Library to replace old light fixtures with new more efficient lights, which last longer, cost less over time, and utilize lower amounts of energy for equivalent output.

Review the eight guiding principles in the Boston Public Library’s strategic plan and read the full plan, the BPL Compass.

Survey Highlights, Part 4

Posted on June 9th, 2014 by Gina Perille in Outcomes, Strategic Plan
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BenjaminFranklinImageOne of the final questions in the library’s 2014 survey was, “If the library were a famous person, who would it be?” Thousands upon thousands of people responded. The six proper names that most often appeared were:

  1. Benjamin Franklin
  2. Thomas Jefferson
  3. Abraham Lincoln
  4. Albert Einstein
  5. John Adams
  6. George Washington

What might be more interesting to note is that the overwhelming majority of responses did not mention a proper name or individual at all. In fact, more than 3,400 survey respondents supplied descriptions ranging from a few words to multiple paragraphs. We spent time reading through the comments and were able to identify the following four themes:

  • Library for all
  • Promoter of literacy
  • Server of the community
  • Holder of knowledge

Thank you to all who participated in the survey. See other survey highlights here and here, and also here.

Survey Highlights, Part 3

Posted on May 12th, 2014 by Gina Perille in Outcomes, Strategic Plan
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Earlier this year, Boston Public Library conducted a survey that asked a range of questions about current and future library services. The survey also asked to what degree people agreed with a series of statements.

  • 49% of respondents agree or strongly agree with this statement: “I am planning to try one of the library’s free classes in 2014.”
  • 76% of respondents agree or strongly agree with this statement: “I know that the library has a lot of resources for job seekers and entrepreneurs.”
  • 93% of respondents agree or strongly agree with this statement: “It’s important for the library to offer free access to technology.”
  • 97% of respondents agree or strongly agree with this statement: “The library is important to me and my family.”
  • 98% of respondents agree or strongly agree with this statement: “The library makes a positive difference in the community.”

Ninety-eight percentOne of the final questions in the survey was about overall satisfaction with the collections, services, and programs of the Boston Public Library. Overall, 98% percent of respondents said they are either satisfied or very satisfied with the BPL.

Several survey respondents shared comments about the library. Below are just a few examples.

  • “I feel very fortunate to live in a city with such an amazing library system.”
  • “I think the public library is integral to the health and well-being of this city. Thank you!”
  • “The BPL is the embodiment of commonwealth, making me ever proud to be a citizen.”
  • “The library is doing a phenomenal job at bringing the community together and providing outstanding resources for all to use. It’s the heart of the town.”

See other survey highlights here and here.

Survey Highlights, Part 2

Posted on May 9th, 2014 by Gina Perille in Outcomes, Strategic Plan
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TopWaysToLearnEarlier this year, Boston Public Library conducted a survey that included questions about future services, methods of preferred contact, and services tried. When asked which future services library users had the most interest in, the top choices were:

  • Online classes
  • Streaming video and audio*
  • Credit card payment of fines and fees

*Since the survey’s launch, Boston Public Library introduced a streaming media service.

When asked for the top two preferred ways to learn about the library’s programs and services (chart at right shows selections; survey takers could choose up to two options), the most-often chosen answers were:

  • Library website
  • Library e-newsletter
  • Library staff

When asked which of a range of library offerings people had already tried, the top responses were:

  • Museum passes
  • E-books and audiobooks
  • Talks and lectures

Other existing offerings included were art & architecture tours, mobile catalog, the Leventhal Map Center, classes, viewing digitzed images, digital magazines, and in-library laptop lending along with “all” and “none.”

See other survey highlights here.