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.
Latest Blog Posts
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.
More and more detail work is in progress up on the second floor of the Johnson building. The top image below shows the approach to the new children’s library from elevators. In the distance, you can see some of the red nonfiction shelving that has been assembled. The second photo is a look inside the program room within the children’s library. The natural light is streaming in from one of the newly-replaced second-floor windows.
Download a copy of the library’s updated Central Library renovation fact sheet. On the fact sheet, find information on the project goals, master plan process, construction phases, timeline, and budget.
PDF document, two pages (2.5 MB)
The library continues to post updates on project progress via this blog. Click here for all posts related to the Central Library renovation.