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.
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One 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.
The library receives a great many questions and suggestions through a variety of channels, including our classic suggestion boxes near the entrances to the Central Library. We also collected for many months questions and requests about the Central Library renovation via a display in the Johnson building. Here we bring you an updated summary of some of the most often asked questions about what is to come. Thank you to everyone who has written, called, and commented.
More bike racks! Please!
You got it. The renovated exterior of the Johnson building will feature four times as many bicycle parking spaces than is currently allotted. Currently there are 8 bike racks, holding 16 bikes. After the renovation, there will be 36 bike racks available, able to accommodate 72 bikes.
Power, Outlets – Will you be adding more places to plug in phones and laptops?
Absolutely. This was one of the most-requested things even before the renovation project got started. There will be a significant increase in power available in the Johnson building. We will be adding outlets and running power to specific furnishings so that individual devices can be charged from variety of locations.
Furnishings – Are there plans for more individual work tables? What about comfortable seating?
Yes. The first phase of construction calls for new, durable seating around the second-floor atrium and a large grouping of chair and table options within the nonfiction collection (also on the second floor). The chairs will be a mix of upholstered and non-upholstered options.
Restrooms – Will you add more bathrooms, please?
We certainly will. The first phase of construction includes new bathrooms on the second floor and in the children’s library. Later phases include new bathrooms on the first floor.
Sidewalk – Why not replace the brick sidewalk with something safer?
That is a terrific idea and is included in later phases of the project. The exterior of the Johnson building is landmarked so we are in careful consultant with the Landmarks Commission about the look and feel of any new landscaping. An accessible entrance is a priority.
As always, please feel free to share your ideas by commenting on this blog, sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, or mailing a letter to Boston Public Library, 700 Boylston Street, Boston MA 02116.
Here are more views of the in-progress children’s library and Teen Central area on the second floor of the Johnson building, which is the part of the Central Library that faces Boylston Street. The image below shows the curved entrance to Teen Central, inside of which will be a digital lab, lounge for gaming and films, books, and a quiet study area.
The next image looks toward a the second-floor walkway in front of the children’s library at right, with a view toward the open atrium area. For purposes of orientation, Exeter Street is to the right and Bladgen Street is to the rear of this photo. The children’s library will have a program room, early literacy area, story time nook, and a designated area for tweens along with an excellent selection of books.