Boston Public Library
Strategic Planning

The BPL Compass

Category Archives: Technology

Central Library Renovation: Tech Classroom

Posted on April 28th, 2014 by ggifford@private.bpl.org in Johnson Building Study, Library Services, Major Projects, Technology
Tags: , , , , ,

Included in the Central Library Renovation’s plan for the mezzanine level  is the wonderful addition of a Tech Classroom. The Library’s free and popular Research, Computer & Career classes will meet in this new space, designed to fit 20 students at individual computer workstations for  hands-on practice with computers and online resources. Classes delve into a whole host of topics, from very basic keyboard and mouse practice to using our new streaming video service to how to tackle a research paper/project. You can find more information about scheduled classes via www.bpl.org/general/tech_training.

TechClassroom

Life as a Service Hub for the Digital Public Library of America

Posted on March 12th, 2014 by admin in Collections, Library Services, Strategic Plan, Technology
Tags: , , , , , ,

by Tom Blake

With millions upon millions of items to potentially digitize at the BPL, you would think we would have enough on our plates. But, in our role as a Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) Service Hub, we have taken on the digitization of collections across the entire Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Any library, archives, museum, historical society, or other cultural heritage institution in the state is eligible for this service. We have already been engaged by over 150 different institutions seeking our help get their collections digitized and made available online.

Although it might seem strange or even imprudent to take on such a task in a day when resources can be stretched thin, we believe that extending our state-of-the-art digitization services beyond our walls significantly increases the value of our own collections.

06_01_002590.LARGEThe works of Lowell Mason are a perfect example. Boston Public Library’s music department holds significant materials by this turn of the century composer and teacher, and these materials are critical in understanding the history of public music education. The Lowell Mason Foundation, a small nonprofit organization based in Medfield, requested our services to have complementary items digitized. Once digitization is complete, these items will become unified, virtually, with the holdings of the BPL via Digital Commonwealth and the DPLA. As our materials are connected to these other resources, we will have created a more comprehensive online resource for researchers who otherwise would have had to travel to multiple locations. This ability to enable a high level of discoverability for small, local collections bolsters our position as a leader and an innovator for library services. This has been our reputation since our founding and a source of pride for Boston ever since.

Central Library Renovation: Tech Central

Posted on March 5th, 2014 by Gina Perille in Johnson Building Study, Major Projects, Technology
Tags: , ,

9sq_grid

The Johnson Building is arranged in a nine-square gird. Imagine Boylston Street as being at the bottom of this image, underneath the letters H – A – B.

Included in the renovation plans for the first floor of the Johnson Building is an updated and improved Tech Central area. Today, Tech Central is in and to the left as you enter the Central Library via Boylston Street.

Using the image at right as a guide to the first floor, Tech Central occupies the G area today. The current plan is to move it to the E section and a bit into the F section with additional computers and expanded work space for library staff to assist library users with their technology questions. A new set of restrooms is also planned for the F area on the first floor.

Another new feature planned is bar-style seating at the back window of the E section, which faces a small sunlight garden on the Blagden Street side of the Central Library.

 

Making E-books Easier

Posted on March 3rd, 2014 by Scot Colford in Library Services, Technology, Web Services
Tags: ,

One of our most popular services is our e-book collection, but for many years, library users faced some unexpected complications managing the digital items they borrowed. For instance, if you wanted to search for something to read but didn’t mind whether it was in digital or physical format, you could search our online catalog. However, once you found an e-book you wanted, you would be directed to an entirely different site to check out and download the title. If you wanted to continue searching all formats, you’d have to leave the OverDrive site to switch back to the full catalog. Furthermore, you used to have to check two places if you wanted to see how your holds queues were progressing for digital and physical titles.

Considering our Compass principle of Access and Innovation, we’ve made it a priority to make the whole e-book process easier. Now, if you find a digital title in our online catalog, you can check its availability, place a hold on it, or check it out without being shuttled off to another site. Want to know what you’ve got checked out? It’s all there in the My BPL section. You can even manage all your pending holds from that same location.

e-book record

Of course, there are still some valid reasons you may want to use our OverDrive site. But even that experience has been streamlined. The new design of the OverDrive site released last month features smarter search results, lets you check out titles with fewer clicks, and even allows you to start reading immediately in your web browser. The design of the site adapts to the device you’re on as well, so you can do the same things on your smartphone as you can on your tablet or computer.

We hope you’re enjoying the improvements we’re making in our online services and we intend to keep removing as many barriers to digital access as we can.

“What’s that machine?” You ask…

Posted on July 11th, 2013 by Christine Schonhart in Library Services, Technology

Checkout1

Why, it’s the Library’s new self-checkout kiosk. And, if you’ve been to 15 of the neighborhood branches over the past year, you may have seen it or even used it yourself. In the next few months, a self-checkout kiosk will be installed in every branch of the Boston Public Library.

To use the kiosk:

1) Scan your library card barcode

2) Scan the BPL barcode, usually located on the front cover of the book

3) Place the book in the cradle until the screen indicates to remove it (you’ll also hear a “thud” sound)

4) Chose whether you’d like a printed receipt

At this time, only books can be checked out at the kiosk. Movies and music should be brought to a staff member for assistance.

If you’ve tried the self-checkout and want to let us know what you think, please leave a comment in the comments section. If you like to read more about the self-service trend in libraries check out this 2010 article from Library Journal.

Branches that currently have a self-checkout: Adams Street, Brighton, Charlestown (pictured), Codman Square, Dudley Square, Fields Corner, Grove Hall, Honan-Allston, Hyde Park, Lower Mills, Mattapan, Roslindale, South Boston, West End, and West Roxbury

Branches scheduled for installation: Connolly, Egleston Square, Faneuil, Jamaica Plain, North End, Parker Hill, South End, and Uphams Corner