Boston Public Library
Strategic Planning

The BPL Compass

Posts Tagged ‘Community Gathering’

Profiles – Christine Schonhart, Director of Branch Libraries

Posted on August 30th, 2012 by Gina Perille in Profiles

To Christine Schonhart, the Boston Public Library branches are more than just books and programs. They are the very heart of the communities in which they’re located. “I see the library as a safe and welcoming environment, a haven for kids and adults,” she says. “Each branch is a beautiful place for people to bring their families, and it’s free, so it’s accessible throughout the city.”

As the director of branch libraries, Christine juggles a host of responsibilities, from hiring staff and developing new programming to overseeing operations and budgets. “It’s an interesting job every day,” she says.

To do her job, she also is mindful of the need for each local branch to evolve with its community. “Neighborhoods change and grow more diverse,” she points out. “I want to hire staff who know the neighborhoods, and at the same time provide consistent, quality programming throughout the city.”

To keep her finger on the pulse of each neighborhood, Christine makes customer feedback a priority, through surveys, online forums, social media, and outreach programs. “I want each branch to be seen as a fun, engaging, welcoming, friendly space where people can come no matter what’s going on in their lives,” she says.

Profiles – Ronaldo Rauseo-Ricupero, Associate, Nixon Pebody LLP; Member, BPL Compass Committee and Strategic Planning Committee

Posted on August 28th, 2012 by Gina Perille in Profiles

Growing up in East Boston, home of the first branch library in America, Ronaldo Rauseo-Ricupero had a keen sense of the importance of branch libraries to local neighborhoods. “The branches are uniquely Boston,” he says. “They double as community centers—a place for reading groups, exhibitions, lectures, research, and community-based activities. They’re the lifeblood of the community.”

Now an Associate with Nixon Peabody LLP, a Global 100 law firm, Ronaldo also served as a member of the Boston Public Library’s Strategic Planning Committee. He sees this initiative as a way for the library and local communities to build a future together. “It’s a way to sit down and think about a systematic approach for where the library should be,” he says.

He also recognizes that, in this era of limited resources, creative strategies are needed. “We need to keep changing to meet the needs of the communities on a day-to-day basis,” he says. “I’m more than honored to be a part of it. The library is a special place.”

Profiles – Uma Murthy, Branch Librarian

Posted on August 24th, 2012 by Gina Perille in Profiles

When Uma Murthy first came to the U.S. from India, she wanted a place where she could go and feel part of the community. She found it at her local branch of the Boston Public Library. Now, as a Boston Public Library branch librarian, she is delighted to offer that same sense of belonging to others in her neighborhood.

The branch at which Uma serves is the Brighton Branch, which is housed in a building that was recently extensively renovated according to U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) Commercial Interiors guidelines. “People come to see it and ask how we’re saving money,” Uma reports. More than that, the building design invites the community in. “It has big double doors and very good lighting,” she says. “It’s very welcoming.”

The branch’s programs and resources also draw people in—from books and technology resources to active children’s and adults’ programming, including book clubs, English as a Second Language classes, support groups, and more, depending on the current needs of the community.

The branch’s two librarians also often reach beyond the building walls to drop off pamphlets at local colleges, restaurants, and the YMCA. “We want to let our friends and neighbors know we’re here,” says Uma.