Boston Public Library
Strategic Planning

The BPL Compass

Posts Tagged ‘Children and Teens’

Central Library Renovation: Teen Central

Posted on February 21st, 2014 by Christine Schonhart in Johnson Building Study, Library Services, Major Projects

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

Menino Learning Lab Coming to the Hyde Park Branch

Posted on January 14th, 2014 by Christine Schonhart in Branches, Library Services

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.

Children’s Library & Teen Room: Johnson Building Improvement Project

Posted on September 12th, 2013 by Christine Schonhart in Johnson Building Study, Library Services, Major Projects

Since our last update on the Children’s Library and Teen Room, library staff and users have been hard at work in the design stage of these spaces.

A few things have changed since the summer, mainly the orientation of the Children’s Library which is now planned to occupy two quadrants of the second floor along Exeter Street. This will allow for dedicated space for toddlers, school-age kids, and tweens; a large program space within the room, stroller parking, and collections and computers for all ages.

BPL 130816 Children's LibraryThe Teen Room is also progressing in the design stage as we look at different options for the shape of the room as well as developing ideas for a digital makerspace for teens. The Teen Room will be on the second floor of the Johnson Building as well.

BPL 130816 Teen AreaOver the summer, library administration met with youth services staff and gathered feedback from teens who use current Central Library Teen Room. We have also used the recommendations from our system-wide programming report to help inform decisions.

You can be part of the conversation in a number of ways: post comments on this post, visit the project exhibition now at the Central Library in Copley Square, attend a roundtable meeting, send an email at, or mail a letter to Boston Public Library, 700 Boylston Street, Boston MA 02116.

Systemwide Youth Programming Study complete

Posted on August 13th, 2013 by Christine Schonhart in Library Services


In July 2012, the Boston Public Library Foundation put out a request for proposals to assist the BPL in reviewing systemwide youth programming, program spaces, and gathering best practices from peer libraries across the country. The team from Wondercabinet Interpretive Design process included a staff survey, site visits, staff meetings and a public survey. Hundreds of comments were gathered over several months and the final report (PDF), published in June 2013, is now available.

Teen Zone: Johnson Building Improvement Project

Posted on July 17th, 2013 by Gina Perille in Johnson Building Study, Major Projects

Building a new teen zone is also part of the first construction phase of the Johnson Building Improvement Project. It is envisioned that the teen zone will be located on the second floor of the Johnson Building, a move from its current location on the Mezzanine level. Read this description of an enhanced teen area that we shared last year. Although the latest thinking on specific location has changed, the defining characteristics of a successful teen space remain.

Teen Zone

  • Collaborative and flexible
  • Group study pods
  • Hi-tech resources
  • Teen books, magazines, and zines

The first image below shows the location of the new teen zone (highlighted in green) on the second floor of the Johnson Building. The teen zone is not yet designed; the diagram shows what could fit in the available space.

The second image shows some concepts for major design elements that the design team assembled through research and discussion. The categories are lounges, quiet spaces, media, and maker space. Your responses and suggestions are welcome, too. Please feel free to comment directly on this blog, send an email to, or send a letter to Boston Public Library, 700 Boylston Street, Boston MA 02116.

TeenZoneDiagram_600 TeenZoneMajorDesignElements_600