Boston Public Library
Strategic Planning

The BPL Compass

Category Archives: Outcomes

Survey Highlights

Posted on May 8th, 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 and use. Continuing to collect and value input from library users is an outcome that supports the User-Centered Institution principle in the BPL’s strategic plan. The goal was to collect 10,000 surveys. In the end, more than 11,000 surveys were completed. Thank you to all who took the time to share comments and feedback. We’ll be sharing highlights from the survey in this and future blog posts. We start with information about how often Boston Public Library locations and website are visited.




Out-of-school Time Survey Highlights

Posted on July 31st, 2012 by Gina Perille in Library Services, Outcomes, Strategic Plan

During the development of the Boston Public Library’s strategic plan, community members expressed a desire for a reimagined and enhanced Homework Assistance Program (Principle V, Outcome B, Strategy 1). Since the spring, the Boston Public Library (BPL) has been engaged in a process to fulfill that very request by discussing and analyzing a range of out-of-school time program options.

In addition to the planning work of library professionals on the BPL’s Youth Services team, the library administered a survey to gain input directly from children and teens, along with a separate survey for parents and caregivers. The staggered survey roll-out schedule made it possible to incorporate comments from the children and teens survey (May 2012) into the adults and caregivers survey (June 2012).

Below are highlights from both survey instruments utilized. Adult and caregiver responses appear in blue; children and teen responses appear in orange. For the chart immediately below, survey takers were allowed to choose multiple program types in their response. The numbers along the left-hand side represent what percent of respondents chose a particular program type.

For the chart immediately below, survey takers were allowed to choose multiple activities in their response. The numbers along the left-hand side represent what percent of respondents chose a particular activity.

Work continues on the library’s out-of-school time program offerings. The surveys have direct influence on the out-of-school time programming model the BPL will unveil in September of this year. Programming will focus on themes such as arts, writing, science, math, and robotics each month during the school year. From September to May, the Boston Public Library will partner with other Boston-based organizations offering those types of programs. The library’s calendar ( will list out-of-school time programs beginning in September.

Thank you to all who completed the surveys and who offered comments in the open response sections in addition to the objective questions. Ninety-five (95) young people completed the May survey and 191 parents and caregivers completed the June survey.



Final Draft of Strategic Plan

Posted on November 14th, 2011 by Gina Perille in Library Services, Outcomes, Strategic Plan

The final draft (9-page PDF) of the Boston Public Library’s strategic plan goes before the Board of Trustees on Tuesday, November 15, at their regularly-scheduled meeting. We’re posting it here and copies of the draft plan will be available at the meeting, which begins at 3:00 p.m. at the Fields Corner Branch.

Thank you to all who have made comments on this blog, attended Roundtables, and sent in suggestions via email. This document is the result of your input, gathered across more than 80 different convenings over the last two years.

Draft Compass Outcomes and Strategies

Posted on September 1st, 2011 by Gina Perille in Library Services, Outcomes, Strategic Plan

As promised, we are posting the working draft of the Compass Outcomes and Strategies Document 09012011. It is a PDF document and is 13 pages in all.

Here are some notes on the document’s structure:

  • Principles appear at the tops of pages and are ordered with roman numerals.
  • Outcomes appear beneath each principle and ordered with uppercase letters.
  • Strategies appear beneath outcomes and are ordered with arabic numbers.
  • Potential ideas for staff-developed work plans appear under strategies and in italics. It is not expected that these internal work plan notes will appear in the final document.

The next milestone in this nearly two-year planning process is for the Boston Public Library Board of Trustees to receive a copy of the draft strategic plan. That will happen on September 15. If you are able to make your comments before that date – either via email to or as a post on this blog – we would greatly appreciate it. The strategic plan will be refined by the Strategic Planning Committee and Staff Compass Committee before and after the September 15 Trustee meeting. Both groups will continue to review comments and feedback. The Boston Public Library Board of Trustees will have the opportunity to formally adopt the strategic plan at their November 15 meeting.

Please give the document a good read and let us know whether this resonates with you, is clear, and whether anything is missing.

Children & Teens

Posted on June 15th, 2011 by Gina Perille in Library Services, Outcomes, Strategic Plan

Children and teens, although quite different from each other, together make up a very important group of users and potential users of the Boston Public Library. The principle that captures this states:

The BPL fosters the love of reading and skills in critical and creative thinking among children and teens – from early literacy through mature readership – by offering a slate of services that provide academic support and intellectual growth.

Listed below are a series of potential outcomes the library would like to accomplish in the coming months and years related to this principle. We’d like to know what you think are the most important of these outcomes. Pick three from this list and include them in a comment so we can take your thoughts into account. In addition, as you read through these outcomes, if you think there’s something missing in the discussion of children and teens, please suggest an additional outcome for us to add. More principles and outcomes will be posted next week.

  • BPL is committed to all teen/children’s spaces being safe, thoughtful, innovative, and creative; foster interaction, technology, study space, collections, programs and comfortable furniture: fun things that kids/teens want
  • Online study primers created for kids on all public computers
  • BPL focuses on life skill and information literacy for kids
  • Provide scholastic support
  • Real focus on early literacy programs (i.e. Reading Readiness, etc.), including age appropriate multi-lingual collections and collaborates with schools on this issue.
  • Literacy is for all ages, intergenerational approach
  • Offer volunteer opportunities or internship programs to get youth interested earlier
  • The BPL respects and protects the privacy of younger users
  • Youth Services system-wide coordinator – or both teen and children coordinator step up offerings for teens
  • Youth are welcomed everywhere
  • Homework assistance is continued
  • Regular story times in every branch
  • Teen Advisory Boards ensure youth leadership/direction
  • Established goals to build sustainable programs with local teachers/schools in walking distance of branches
  • Commit to sufficient teen/children librarians to allow them time to develop relations with youth. Add para or librarian costs for youth services.
  • Separate spaces and resources for children and teens.