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East Boston Branch: First 100 days of service

Posted on February 24th, 2014 by Christine Schonhart in Branches, Collections, Library Services
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The new East Boston Branch opened on November 2, 2013, and the first two months of service saw over 23,000 visitors. People of all ages and from all walks of life have come to the branch to read, use the computers, attend a story time, get a free museum pass, and to marvel at the beauty of this new neighborhood landmark. Computer use by all ages has certainly been popular as have the variety of programs for all ages. The collection has grown by the thousands since opening day. Each month new books, DVDs and CDs are added and it’s evident that the collection is responsive to community interests by the following facts:

  • On average, 34% of the collection is in circulation at any time – this is the highest in entire system, even higher than the Central Library
  • In November 2013 alone, the number of books, movies and CDs borrowed was 28% more than the November 2012 circulation of the former East Boston and Orient Heights branches combined
  • Over 20% of books are checked out at the self-check kiosks
  • Juvenile DVDs are in highest demand with 59% of that collection in use, on average
  • Juvenile easy books and early chapter books follow in highest demand at 57% in use
  • 41% of the children’s picture book collection is in use at any given time.

William Rawn, Architects, the City of Boston and the Library are finishing up some small ‘punch list’ items including installing lights on study tables, addressing some air vent noise in the quiet room, and installing additional signage. Community support and dialogue about the new branch has been strong. The East Boston Times ran several articles about the $25,000 Massport programming donation, the Friends fundraising efforts for the Frederick Leonard King paintings, and profiles of users of the branch. In the coming months, the Library will be highlighting additional user profiles and their stories as well as promoting the various programs for kids, teens and adults. The Friends have also begun conservation efforts on the first of the Frederick Leonard King paintings and we look forward to seeing it back in the branch when fully restored.

Branch Librarian, Margaret Kelly reports that overwhelmingly, the community has shown great support of the library. The staff sees about 50-60 children and teens from the local schools each day; patrons report loving the book drop as it offers them an opportunity to return books off-hours that they didn’t have before; and the teens are especially excited about the new PS4 video game system that is coming to the branch soon. The first 100 days were filled with greeting old friends and making new ones, teaching classes and preparing story time, learning new systems and procedures, getting to know new staff members, and figuring out all the ins and outs of a new building. The increased demand for services has been an adjustment as well, but one that the staff has fully embraced.

First 100-day quotables:

  • Jill on Facebook said: “I can not wait to visit our new and improved East Boston Branch of the Boston Public Library!”
  • Branch patron said “When I come here, I feel like this is what it must be like to work at Google.”
  • Teens lounging in the Teen Room said “We love it here, we didn’t go to the old branch because there wasn’t a good spot for us, we like this one.”
  • A Yelp user reviewed: “My third time here since I moved to Boston. I finally got my Boston library card. And I’m sooooo excited.”
  • From this blog: “Thank you for this beautiful library. I am so proud that East Boston residents have this wonderful resource.”

Central Library Renovation: Phase 1 Overview

Posted on February 24th, 2014 by David Leonard in Johnson Building Study, Major Projects
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Now well into the second month of 2014, we are in the process of sharing updates on key components of the current design. This post is an overall project update on plans to improve the public spaces in the Johnson Building, still currently planned as spanning at least two phases.

A view of mobilization activity on the Blagden Street side of the Central Library in Copley Square.

A view of mobilization activity on the Blagden Street side of the Central Library in Copley Square.

The construction manager/general contractor firm Consigli was selected and began work in December 2013. Phase 1 architectural designs were completed and given final reviews in January 2014. Current activities on the second floor of the Johnson Building are in the abatement and demolition phase.

Library staff are working with teams from William Rawn Associates Architects and the City of Boston Property and Construction Management staff on finalizing interior design choices for Phase 1. Some of the finalization is focused on furniture and finishes including appropriate re-use of existing furniture and shelving.

Phase 1 is on track to be completed at the end of the calendar year or early 2015. It will feature a new Children’s Library, Teen Central space, updated nonfiction collections, reference services along with reading, study, and general seating areas. Download the project fact sheet (PDF) to learn more.

Central Library Renovation: Teen Central

Posted on February 21st, 2014 by Christine Schonhart in Johnson Building Study, Library Services, Major Projects
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Plans for the new Teen Central space on the second floor of the Central Library have been heating up this winter. Library staff have met with the architects and Teen Council several times to review floor plans, collections, furniture, and technology for the new space. Teens are especially excited about two new features:  the game lounge – where teens will be able to take on their friends in the virtual game world – and the digital lab – where teens can let their creativity fly making movies, music, video games. and more.  Teen Central will have a very distinctive feel from the rest of the second floor with a more loft-inspired design. View the floor plan below to see all the different places young people can hang out, geek out, and mess around at Teen Central.

BPL teen central floor plan

Central Library Renovation: Blagden Street View

Posted on February 1st, 2014 by Gina Perille in Johnson Building Study, Major Projects
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BPLblagdenview1

Renovation-related activity has increased along the Blagden Street side of the Central Library in Copley Square. Bladgen Street runs between Dartmouth and Exeter and is parallel to Boylston Street. Barriers and construction trailers have started to arrive. To learn more about phase one of the Central Library renovation, download the project fact sheet (PDF).

 

Menino Learning Lab Coming to the Hyde Park Branch

Posted on January 14th, 2014 by Christine Schonhart in Branches, Library Services
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Thanks to a generous donation from the Boston Municipal Research Bureau, the small homework room in the children’s library at the Hyde Park branch will receive a much needed facelift and be dedicated to Thomas M. Menino.

The room, located just off the main children’s room, is currently used by homework mentors, ESL groups, a tween book club and as a small study room. The space will be designed with this need for flexibility in mind with new furniture, paint, flooring, writable wall spaces, storage, and fun graphics on the walls. This will be a fitting tribute to a Mayor who was so dedicated to children and learning, and is a great fit with the Library’s mission of the advancement of learning.

The project is expected to be complete in spring 2014.