There’s loads more detail being added to the in-progress children’s library, which is located on the second floor of the Central Library’s Johnson building. The first image below is what can be seen after passing through the doors to the children’s library. The window shown overlooks Exeter Street. The bottom image is a view to the left after entering; from left to right, there is a peek at the tween area (red), the program room (blue), and some of the collections (orange).
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Children’s services and teen services have temporarily relocated to the McKim Exhibition Hall on the first floor of the Central Library in Copley Square. These services will remain in the McKim Exhibition Hall until the renovated second floor of the Johnson building opens in March 2015. Download the Central Library renovation fact sheet for additional project details.
To find the McKim Exhibition Hall (pictured above): enter on Dartmouth Street and turn left before you reach the main staircase. The McKim Exhibition Hall is ahead on the left. The first entryway on the left is for children’s services and the second entryway on the left is for teen services. Refer to the library’s map or speak to a staff member if you have any difficulty finding the McKim Exhibition Hall.
One of the ways the BPL fulfills the strategic plan’s Fun principle and the accompanying outcome to “Connect people to popular books, music, films, and artwork – whether the materials are brand new or simply new to select audiences,” is through book discussion groups. Boston Public Library staff members facilitate 12 distinct book groups for adults across the BPL system. Some groups have themes – Hyde Park’s “Reading Around the World;” Parker Hill’s “books based on movies” – and some groups take turns choosing titles. Books include fiction, nonfiction, best-sellers and award-winners. The Central Library in Copley Square hosts a successful book group in Chinese. Attendance varies from intimate groups of 5 readers to the West Roxbury Branch group with 48 participants. It is wonderful to share books and reading via this core library service.
As part of the second phase of the Central Library renovation, the mezzanine level of the Johnson building will become home to a new Community Learning Center.
This area will have seating for small-group tutoring, a series of small conference rooms for conversation circles and other collaborative work, an updated public classroom, and library collections including world languages and literacy. This space will also feature a gallery of artwork from the library’s own print collection.
The section of the mezzanine that sits above the fiction collection along Exeter Street will include the romance, science fiction/fantasy, urban fiction, and graphic novel genres. New stairways from the first floor to the mezzanine will provide additional points of access and a more unified feel.
One of the ways the BPL fulfills the strategic plan’s Center of Knowledge principle and the accompanying outcome to “Expand adult literacy volunteer and mentor program,” is through the coordination of ESL Conversation Groups across the library system. There are currently 40 volunteer-led, drop-in conversation groups running weekly, giving immigrants and visitors the opportunity to practice speaking English and the chance to develop relationships and network with people who have similar goals and needs. These groups are in high demand and attract several hundred attendees per month. They represent one of the most successful, continually-running programs at the library. The BPL’s Conversation Groups program is also unique in the City of Boston as a whole, where many other agencies and organizations offer literacy programs.
In addition to the ESL Conversation Groups, the BPL also succeeds in reaching the strategic plan’s adult literacy outcome through the provision of the Small Group Mentoring Program. At present, there are 25 groups across the library system (no-more-than 5 students at a time) that meet with volunteer mentors to learn English. Free tutoring sessions like these, tailored to students’ specific needs, are vital to patrons citywide.