The second phase of the Central Library renovation begins in earnest this fall and includes the first floor, mezzanine, lower level, and exterior of the Johnson building. It’s important to note that Phase 2 will start before all elements of Phase 1 are complete. Here’s a quick summary of the Phase 2 spaces that are slated to be renovated, built as new, and otherwise improved:
- First floor: new books section; lobby and welcome area; an enterprise or retail space; the fiction collection with stacks and seating areas; borrower services; movies and music; and Tech Central. The first floor will also include an exhibition gallery, various installations of BPL art, interactive digital displays, and new restrooms.
- Mezzanine: world languages and areas for group work such as conversation circles, a new public instruction classroom, and meeting room.
- Lower level: updated Rabb Lecture Hall and supporting AV and green room, the lobby outside of Rabb, a new digital innovation space, and updated restrooms. Also under discussion is a review of the refurbishment of the Kirstein Business Library.
- Exterior: a new entrance vestibule and window system, paving and landscaping upgrades, signage and lighting improvements, and outdoor furniture and bike racks.
Less visible to the public are a range of infrastructure improvements to plumbing, piping, electrical and data systems,; heating and cooling and air distribution; and fire suppression and control systems. In addition, there are notable “back of house” changes planned for the first floor: the loading dock and shipping room, freight elevator improvements, the borrower services workroom, and some minor updates to basement-level spaces.
A rendering of what the library might look like from the vantage point of Boylston and Exeter Streets. As always, all elements are subject to change.
A rendering of what the new books area on the first floor of the Johnson Building might look like. Boylston Street is to the right and Exeter Street far ahead (for purposes of orientation).