As part of the Children and Teens principle, one of the library’s outcomes is to focus on providing early learning experiences. The first strategy under that principle is to “enhance early literacy programs, such as reading readiness, including age-appropriate, multilingual collections.” Reading Readiness is an early literacy initiative started at the BPL in 1996. It teaches our youngest users important early learning concepts like colors, numbers, shapes, and textures within a fun and interactive environment. After many years, the program had lost its focus as each location offered a different type of early learning program.
Category Archives: Strategic Plan
Increase access to e-books and other digital content: streaming video, music, and audiobooks became available to BPL users in March 2014. The service proved immediately popular as evidenced by an approximately 20% increase in eCard registrations for several weeks after the announcement of the new service.
Implement new technologies: a new staff intranet was released in November 2013. The intranet uses the content management system Drupal as its framework and allows appropriate staff to publish content for the internal community to find, reference, and use without specialized coding skills. After a year of use by the staff, interviews, surveys, and analytics will be gathered to determine successes and failures of the project that will inform future projects, such as the redesign of public-facing web services.
Website redesign: A steering committee has been formed and a broader advisory committee will be convened, made up of representatives from many departments of the library to analyze, prioritize, and review the breadth of online properties that deliver BPL services. Deliverables include a project plan for the remainder of FY 2015 for redesign of bpl.org among other possible improvements to online properties.
As 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.
One 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.
One 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.