An element of the second phase of the Central Library renovation includes a new space for the library’s innovative digitization lab, where a team of skilled photographers shoot both the BPL’s collection and collections from libraries across Massachusetts as part of the Library for the Commonwealth program. When construction is completed, this lab will be located on the lower level of the Johnson building along with partners-in-residence, the Digital Public Library of America and the Internet Archive. Viewing windows and digital monitors will allow visitors to see the interesting work taking place in the lab, and the collaborative work done by these three groups will be well served with a shared space.
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One of the ways the BPL fulfills the Special Collections principle of the strategic plan and the outcome Special collections will be discoverable by users in buildings and online is through creation of a three-year plan to make items and collections discoverable in the online catalog, including retrospective conversion (the process of converting catalog cards into electronic format) and in-house cataloging.
For many years now, the BPL has been working on the retrospective conversion of items not reflected in the online catalog. Earlier in 2014, the Trustees approved continuing the project for another three years. In addition to the tens of thousands of MARC records (a MARC record is a machine-readable cataloging record) created by a vendor, the Technical Services team also continuously creates records for these older titles and add them into the BPL catalog. Staff work on materials that are being digitized and on special projects. Some of the types of materials worked on include:
- Antislavery pamphlets and manuscript correspondence
- Genealogy materials
- Chap books
- Old cookbooks
- French language rare books.
According to records, the Technical Services team has cataloged 31,583 titles and processed 37,036 items to date. Once Technical Services is done, the Digital Services team digitizes these materials. The process is then completed by inserting the URL to the digital resource into the MARC file so that all these materials are fully discoverable and viewable in the library’s online catalog.
All of elevators in the Johnson building are being renovated or replaced through the Central Library renovation project. When the project is complete there will be a single elevator which will stop at each of the public floors within the Johnson and McKim buildings. In order to enable this work, there will be multiple times when elevator are shut down or taken offline.
Beginning on December 9, 2014, the West elevator in the Northwest Corridor of the McKim building is scheduled to be decommissioned. This is the elevator closest to the Map Center and the Commonwealth Salon on the first floor, Book Delivery and Tech Central on the second floor, and Arts and Rare Books on the third floor. Library visitors should use the South or East elevators to move throughout the McKim building. The accessible route to Book Delivery or Tech Central will include taking the South or East elevators to the McKim second floor and taking the lift from the Elliot Room to the Washington Room.
One of the ways the Children and Teens principle of the strategic plan and the outcome Collaborate with area organizations on early learning experiences is fulfilled involves expanded outreach to special institutions that serve children. The BPL collaborates with many organizations on a systemwide and local neighborhood level to offer early learning experiences in all locations. In addition to the well established “Reading Readiness” program that takes place at all BPL locations, several youth librarians have expanded their reach into early learning programs with these organizations:
- Family Nurturing Center: The center offers play groups for infants and toddlers aged 0-3 at the Grove Hall, Honan-Allston, Faneuil, and Brighton branches.
- Dudley Thrive in Five: Children’s librarians at Dudley, Grove Hall, Mattapan, and Uphams Corner work with Thrive in Five staff to provide programming to parents that is directed at helping them as they learn to be their child’s first teacher. This nationally-recognized program helps provide opportunities for parents to support young children’s healthy growth, development, and school readiness.
- Boston Medical Center bWell Center: The library continues its partnership with the bWell Center by providing a rotating book collection focusing on health and wellness. Children’s librarians also read to kids in the waiting room of the Pediatrics Department and sign up kids and families for library cards.
- Boston Children’s Hospital: Launched in 2014 by Youth Outreach Librarian Amanda Bressler, the library began offering early literacy programming to staff and patients based on national early learning initiatives “Every Child Ready to Read” and “Mother Goose on the Loose.”
On November 12, approximately 40 community members, Boston Public Library staff members, and project managers and architects from Utile, Inc. gathered at the Jamaica Plain Branch of the Boston Public Library for the fourth community meeting related to the renovation of the 112 year-old building.
Some changes since the last presentation include moving the tween nook under the mezzanine, moving the maker space adjacent to the staff workroom, and shifting the lower level meeting room to accommodate a small conference room.
Review the design progress and changes in floor plans and ideas over the course of the project via the Branch Capital Projects page on this website. Below is a rendering of the Sedgwick Street entrance with the proposed reading porch shown at left. The grayed-out building behind the branch is Curtis Hall, which is shown for orientation purposes.