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Central Library Renovation: Children’s Library

Posted on March 7th, 2014 by Beth Prindle in Johnson Building Study, Library Services, Major Projects
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Ask the BPL’s youngest visitors about the most exciting area currently under construction?  It’s the new Children’s Library on the second floor, of course. At 9,500 square feet, this expansive and welcoming new space for kids and caregivers will be nearly double the size of the current children’s room. The Children’s Library will be filled with opportunities for children to read, create, play, explore, and learn together. Plans for a dedicated area for infants and toddlers feature cozy furniture, stacks of books and toys for little ones, and a variety of experience-based learning materials designed to stimulate young minds. Story time for young readers will be extra-special as they explore the land of make believe in a custom-built nook. The spacious program room calls out for kid creativity with room for crafts, performances, workshops, and much more. Tweens will have their own dedicated space for homework, reading, and hanging out with friends. And that’s not all—more fun, whimsical surprises are in the works.

A rendering of the new Children's Library.

A rendering of the new Children’s Library.

 

Central Library Renovation: Tech Central

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

Central Library Renovation: Upcoming Phases

Posted on February 28th, 2014 by David Leonard in Johnson Building Study, Major Projects
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As Phase 1 work continues, library staff members are engaged with the next phases of design as well as planning for where library services would be temporarily located and operate during future construction.

While it’s possible that the Central Library renovation project could ultimately be funded as  a multi-phase project, the current approach is to complete design for the total remaining scope of the project. The complete design builds on what was covered in the master plan and will include all the remaining elements in one set of design documents. At present, the next stage of approvals is estimated to take place in April 2014.

The City of Boston capital budget process, managed by the City of Boston Property and Construction Management department and the City of Boston Office of Budget Management takes place now through to the City Council approval vote at the end of June 2014.

Central Library Renovation: New Reads

Posted on February 26th, 2014 by Michael Colford in Collections, Johnson Building Study, Major Projects
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As the construction starts on the second floor of the Johnson Building, design work is being finalized for the next phase of construction which will include work on first floor, pending capital budget approval. There are exciting plans in the works for the lobby and the two front sections of the library that currently include the circulation area, Boston Room, and the Rey Children’s Room. The walls in those areas will be coming down to create one large open space that will feature interactive, electronic kiosks informing visitors about library events; a proposed digital art-installation as you walk in the door; and a new open area currently called “New Reads” where library staff will engage with readers about books, new books will be displayed, and popular collections will be featured. Readers will be able to browse new titles, sit in comfortable chairs with a cup of coffee while deciding what to read next. Take a look at this early concept drawing of what the space might look like.

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A rendering of the “New Reads” section.