Boston Public Library
Strategic Planning

The BPL Compass

Category Archives: Strategic Plan

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 Each month, staff review the boards to remove outdated information and add new information.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.

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.