Strategic Planning The BPL Compass Tue, 09 Feb 2016 17:28:34 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Central Library Renovation: New Carpet and Paint Thu, 28 Jan 2016 16:52:40 +0000 New carpet is being installed on the Johnson building first floor, orange paint lines the mezzanine

New carpet is being installed on the Johnson building first floor, orange paint lines the mezzanine

Orange carpet is being installed on the Johnson building mezzanine level

Orange carpet is being installed on the Johnson building mezzanine level

The installation of bright orange carpet and paint add a jolt of energy to the Johnson building’s mezzanine level, part of the second phase of the Central Library Renovation. The space that is being transformed, will house the BPL’s new Community Learning Center conference rooms and classroom, and the World Languages and Fiction collections. The mezzanine shares the vibrant color pallet first introduced on the Johnson building’s second floor during the first phase of the renovation, and draws on the historic McKim building’s paintings and murals. In addition, carpet installation is underway on the Johnson building’s first floor in the areas that will house Fiction and Tech Central, the free computer area. The renovation makes room for 40 more computers for public use, totaling 104 available computers.

Opening in summer 2016, the second phase renovation of the Boston Public Library’s Johnson building in Copley Square will be on the cutting edge of library services – reshaping and redefining the patron experience at a 21st century urban public library. Totaling approximately 110,000 square feet, the second phase renovation includes updates to the lower level, first floor, mezzanine, and the building exterior.

The first phase of the renovation, which opened in February 2015, includes a colorful Children’s Library with books and media, early literacy and story time space, a tween corner, and flexible program space; Teen Central, a distinctive and media-friendly space with books, digital lab, media lounge, a dedicated quiet zone, and homework and hangout booths; refreshed and reorganized nonfiction collections and reference services; and an adult reading area and workspace for individuals and groups.

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Faneuil Branch study—final report Wed, 16 Dec 2015 14:47:14 +0000 The Faneuil Branch of the Boston Public Library is a remarkable and well-loved building and institution. Opened in 1932, the 7,600 square foot branch is a well preserved example of a well- constructed Art Deco building, with intact details inside and out. The stone building is a solid anchor located at the geographical and cultural heart of the community.

Please download the full report (PDF, 47 mb) from the BPL Compass.

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Central Library Renovation: Window Installation Fri, 02 Oct 2015 18:12:07 +0000 Window installation is underway on the first floor of the Boston Public Library’s Johnson Building in Copley Square, a major construction milestone in the Central Library Renovation. The seven soaring windows on Boylston, Exeter, and Blagden Streets, measure 19 feet high by 55 feet wide, and replace thick window panes that were tinted and obscured by granite screens and landscaping. The new window glass is ultra-clear for maximum transparency and will allow views both into the library and out onto the street that were never possible in the original building design. The addition of these windows will improve the visitor’s first impression to the Central Library, re-energizing the building’s connection to the street, and relaying a more contemporary presence.  In addition the window glass is more efficient than the 40 year old windows it replaces.

Boylston Window

At the corner of Boylston and Exeter Streets

A window is installed on Exeter Street

A window is installed on Exeter Street


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Central Library Renovation: Concrete Slab Demolition Sat, 12 Sep 2015 19:30:34 +0000 Demolition of the first floor and mezzanine levels of the Central Library’s Johnson building is underway, a significant part of the second phase of the Central Library Renovation. Construction workers are removing the walls on the first floor and portions of the mezzanine level on the Boylston Street side of the Johnson building to create open travel paths and views as part of the building’s interior redesign. This multi-step process involves structural shoring and the use of heavy demolition equipment to chip away at the concrete, rebar, block, and brick. As a result of the construction, library visitors and staff on the second floor may feel vibrations and hear construction-related noises from the floors below. The demolition work is scheduled to be completed by the end of September and is a major project milestone in the second phase of the renovation, slated for completion in Summer 2016. The below diagrams are from William Rawn Associates’ Master Plan presentation, June 2013.

concrete slab demolition93demo2


Click the images to enlarge

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Central Library Renovation Lighting in Johnson Building Mon, 17 Aug 2015 17:12:34 +0000 IMG_5284The BPL is very mindful of the needs of all of its users, of all ages, students, children, laptop users, researchers, and those who are visually impaired. The importance of quality illumination is a cornerstone in the Central Library Renovation project. The quantity of lighting in these spaces meets or exceeds library lighting standards and is significantly brighter than the original lighting design. The new design has increased daylight, more overall ambient lighting, and more task lighting at desk areas to satisfy the range of user reading requirements.

By changing the original tinted glass windows to clear glass, natural lighting is increased, adding significant brightness to the perimeter areas. Reading areas have been placed to take advantage of this increase in natural light. In addition, a major reading area lines the edges of the skylit Deferrari Hall. The new interior wall finishes are illuminated to balance contrast and add brightness. The new light fixtures have a higher efficiency to maximize the amount of electric light permitted by the energy code. The result is higher general lighting throughout. In addition, a generous number of task lights have been installed specifically to address the needs of users who require higher localized lighting.

Other important factors that contribute to the quality of illumination include glare control and the color rendering of the light sources. The new light fixtures provide much greater glare control, which improves visual comfort, making the reading areas a more pleasant environment. The new light sources have improved color rendering so that colors appear more true to users expectations. The overall result is a space that is comfortable, cheerful, and provides a range of study conditions to satisfy the full range of the Boston Public Library’s patrons.

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Scaffolding in Deferrari Hall Wed, 05 Aug 2015 18:56:32 +0000 IMG_0318Contractors are installing scaffolding in Deferrari Hall in the Central Library’s Johnson building in conjunction with the Central Library Renovation. The scaffolding, running 80 feet high, is required for access to repair plaster around skylights and to replace light fixtures in the ceiling. Following the two week installation period taking place at night, the scaffolding will remain in place through November. The pathways to the stairs and the elevator will remain open to public access. Please email with any questions about the Central Library Renovation and follow the Compass blog for updates.

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Have you seen our Bibliocycle? Because it’s awesome! Fri, 31 Jul 2015 20:13:37 +0000 This is the second year the Boston Public Library has offered outreach services via our bike-riding librarians on the Bibliocycle. So far, they have visited 22 locations, checked out 89 books, chatted with 631 visitors, and signed up 23 people for library cards. Today, our brave bikers are actually biking from Mission Hill to East Boston so you may see them at spots throughout the City.

Check us out at these upcoming events:

Saturday August 5th – East Boston Farmers Market (3 p.m. – 5 p.m.)

Sunday August 9th – August Moon Festival (11 a.m. – 2 p.m.)

Monday August 17th – South Boston Farmers Market (1 p.m. – 3 p.m )


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Jamaica Plain and Faneuil meeting minutes now available Fri, 17 Jul 2015 20:14:25 +0000 Meeting minutes from the final community meeting for the programming phase of the Faneuil branch library project are now available here

Meeting minutes from the final community meeting in the design phase of the Jamaica Plain branch library project are now available here

Thank you to all who have participated in the process so far. Post a comment on this blog, or send feedback on either project to


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BPL celebrates youth authors with 826 Boston and Jeff Kinney Thu, 18 Jun 2015 16:43:32 +0000 On Wednesday June 17th, the Grove Hall branch of the Boston Public Library hosted the “I Rate Today a -1,000” author party with 826 Boston, a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting students ages six to eighteen with their creative and expository writing skills. For the past year, students enrolled in both the Grove Hall branch after-school program and the Roxbury after-school program worked on personal diary entries, inspired by their favorite book Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney. From scary stories about knocking sounds coming from the closet, to a story about how to become “Youtube™ famous”, these stories provide a glimpse into the creative minds of kids from across the City of Boston.

Jeff Kinney, who helped support the publication of the book, was on hand to talk about how he came to be a writer and how he came to create one of the most beloved children’s book characters of our recent generation, Greg Heffley, of Diary of a Wimpy Kid.

Below, youth authors gather around Mr. Kinney in celebration of becoming published authors.


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Reminder – Jamaica Plain branch to close for renovations August 1st Tue, 16 Jun 2015 20:00:11 +0000 In six weeks, the Jamaica Plain branch of the Boston Public Library will temporarily close for major renovations. In preparation for this closing, you may be seeing a lot of changes at the branch:

  • Collections are being weeded then inventoried to prepare for storage while the branch is closed
  • Staff are clearing out storage spaces to prepare for construction
  • Some furniture that is not being re-used in the renovation will soon go on the City of Boston Surplus site
  • As of July 1st, the collection will no longer be viewable in the online catalog, though materials will still be available for check out at the branch
  • As of July 1st, the Jamaica Plain branch will no longer be an option for picking up reserves
    • To change your pick up location – please see a staff member or follow these steps:
      • go to
      • click “My Account”
      • Log in using your Library card number and PIN
      • Click on “My Settings” and select “Preferences”
      • Select another BPL location from the drop-down list

While the branch is closed, staff will provide some programming at the Curtis Hall Community Center. Keep an eye on this blog for updates throughout construction.


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