Boston Public Library
Strategic Planning

The BPL Compass

Category Archives: Technology

Pay-for-Print Service Kiosks

Posted on June 25th, 2014 by David Leonard in Branches, Library Services, Major Projects, Technology
Tags: , ,

KioskNew pay-for-print service kiosks will be arriving at the Central Library and the branches over the summer. At the Central Library, the kiosks will be installed area-by-area throughout the building to directly replace the existing pay-for-print machines. The area scheduled for the first installation at the Central Library is Tech Central.

At the branches, the kiosks will be delivered and placed near already-identified kiosk location. A group from the library’s IT team will visit each branch once required software upgrades are ready. The IT team will demonstrate to branch colleagues how the kiosks will be used by library patrons, and will conduct training for the branch staff.

Implementing this new system has several benefits:

  • Patrons will use a single system system for printing and copying
  • Introduction of a credit card payment option, which is in response to many requests
  • An option to pay overdue fines via the kiosk
  • Submission of print jobs via mobile devices (limited initially to any laptop on the BPL WIFI network)
  • Producing satisfactory audit reports
  • Existing equipment is unreliable; a problem for public, staff, and IT support.

New Microtext Equipment

Posted on June 18th, 2014 by Gina Perille in Collections, Johnson Building Study, Major Projects, Technology
Tags: , , ,

One of the new ScanPro machines at the Central Library in Copley Square.

One of the new ScanPro machines at the Central Library in Copley Square.

The Central Library in Copley Square has new microfilm and microfiche scanners available for public use. There are six machines in the north end of Bates Hall on the second floor of the McKim Building and one coming soon on the third floor of the McKim Building in the Arts. These new machines are  high definition, extremely compact, and offer all-in-one operations. The days of having to read microfilm on machine and then change to a different machine in order to print are over. These new scanners enable the emailing of files as well as the downloading of files to a flashdrive for added convenience.

If you would like to preview the new microfilm and microfiche scanners before your next visit to the Central Library in Copley Square, watch the manufacturer’s introductory overview video.

A view into the north end of Bates Hall where the new microform and microfiche scanners are located.

A view into the north end of Bates Hall where the new microform and microfiche scanners are located.

And when you are here, always feel free to talk to a staff member about the new machines. You will find reference team members in the Boylston Room which is just outside the north end of Bates Hall. If you enter on Dartmouth Street, take the marble stairs or east elevator up to the second floor of the McKim Building and turn left.

View other entries on this blog that detail Central Library collection and service moves and refer to the Central Library map to locate the Boylston Room.

Central Library Renovation: Tech Classroom

Posted on April 28th, 2014 by 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


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: , ,


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.