Boston Public Library
Strategic Planning

The BPL Compass

Posts Tagged ‘Children and Teens’

Children’s Library: Johnson Building Improvement Project

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

The Johnson Building Improvement Project got its start from discussions of how to improve library services for the Central Library’s youngest visitors, so it is fitting that the first phase of the project will begin with the design and construction of a new children’s library. At the beginning of the master planning process, we shared this description of what a successful children’s library would include. And below, we have highlights of the key ingredients along with a diagram that demonstrates what could fit in the available space. The new children’s library has not been designed yet. It is envisioned that the children’s library will move to the second floor of the Johnson Building with its own entrance and restrooms.

Children’s Library

  • Family-friendly destination
  • Interactive learning environment
  • Age-appropriate zones, infants thru tweens

The first image below shows the location of the new children’s library (highlighted in blue) on the second floor of the Johnson Building. The second image shows some concepts for major design elements that the design team assembled through research and discussion. Your responses and suggestions are welcome. 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.


Systemwide Youth Programs Review & Assessment

Posted on February 11th, 2013 by Christine Schonhart in Library Services, Major Projects

In July 2012, the Boston Public Library Foundation put out a Request for Proposals (RFP) for consulting services that would result in a program of systemwide library services for youth in Boston. This programming review and assessment fulfills two of the principles in the Library’s Strategic Plan:1) Children and Teens and 2) Community Gathering.

After reviewing the RFPs and interviewing respondents, Wondercabinet Interpretive Design, Inc. was selected to lead this process. During the months of January and February, BPL youth services staff were surveyed to help determine current practices in BPL programming, space availability and options, best practices from other libraries and to gather feedback on what works best and what needs work. In the coming weeks, the public will be invited to participate in a survey to help determine their favorite programs, ideas for new programs, and feedback on what they think works best and what needs work.

In the meantime, do you have a favorite children’s or teen program at the Library or elsewhere? What are your favorite places for youth programming and what makes them special? Please share in the comments.

Johnson Building Improvement Project: Enhanced Teen Area

Posted on December 12th, 2012 by Gina Perille in Johnson Building Study, Library Services, Major Projects

The same Compass Principle guiding the children’s library also guides the Boston Public Library to offer a slate of services that provide academic support and intellectual growth for teens. The goal is to create a best-in-class library for teens to advance these efforts.

The teen room could remain where it currently is on the mezzanine level of the Johnson Building. The space could be redesigned to allow for collaborative work, enhanced and expanded technology, a refreshed collection, and updated furnishings. In addition, the current Mezzanine Conference Room could be renovated to become the teen programming room. A review of current teen programs would inform the needs of this space which could include new furniture, carpeting, paint, and a media creation booth.

A successful teen area would include:

  • Book collections that respond to the educational and entertainment needs of Boston’s teens
  • Comfortable, bright, furniture for lounging and studying
  • Enhanced technology offerings
  • Quiet study rooms for young people to gather in small groups to do homework or work on projects
  • Staff work space in the public area as well as an office space
  • Static and/or electronic display boards
  • Wayfinding and signage
  • Other services identified by teens.

Johnson Building Improvement Project: Children’s Library

Posted on December 5th, 2012 by Gina Perille in Johnson Building Study, Library Services, Major Projects

The Boston Public Library fosters a love of reading and skills in critical and creative thinking among children and teens – from early literacy through mature readership – by offering a slate of services that provide academic support and intellectual growth. This is the Children and Teens BPL Compass Principle. The BPL’s goal is to create a new and larger best-in-class library for children to advance these efforts.

The new children’s library would serve the youth of Boston from birth through elementary school. Dedicated spaces for babies, toddlers, and schoolage kids would ensure that each age group is given the collections they need, technologies to help prepare them for our ever!changing environment, and programming that is responsive to their academic and entertainment needs. The proposed new children’s library would be located on the street level of the Johnson Building.

A successful children’s library would include:

  • Book collections for all ages, from board books for our youngest readers to chapter books, nonfiction and summer reading titles for school-aged kids
  • An early literacy nook with learning manipulative toys to help with infant and toddler brain development
  • Program space for story time, sing-alongs, puppet shows, and more
  • Quiet study space for homework and reading
  • Collaborative work spaces for kids to explore reading, learning, and gathering with family and friends
  • Innovative technology and flexible space to allow for the next generation of technology
  • Computers to help students prepare for the digital world
  • Family restrooms with infant changing tables
  • Staff work space in the public area as well as an office
  • Comfortable furniture for children and their caregivers
  • Stroller parking
  • Static and/or electronic display boards
  • Wayfinding and signage
  • Bright, cheery, welcoming design that stimulates creativity.

Johnson Building Improvement Project: Goals

Posted on November 30th, 2012 by Gina Perille in Johnson Building Study, Library Services, Major Projects

The goals of this study and project are in line with BPL’s Compass principles of Community Gathering, Children & Teens, and Sustainable Organization. They include:

1. Enriched library services and user experience

  • Improved user services through better access and adjacencies
  • Collections thoughtfully presented and accessible to meet demand
  • Expanded and improved youth services through reimagined children’s library and teen room
  • Expanded engagement opportunities through new functional spaces such as a conference center, “living room,” and potential commercial-use space

2. Improved visitor first impression

  • Improved exterior transparency and engagement, with clear paths and intuitive wayfinding
  • Reinvigorated entrance and lobby, and connection to the streetscape

3. Positive financial impact for BPL

  • Leveraging of public investment with private investment
  • Optimal and maximum use of the existing physical asset
  • Revenue generation and cost sharing from commercial tenants
  • Leveraging benefit of previously-deferred maintenance projects to support library service improvements