One of the ways the BPL fulfills the Sustainable Organization principle and the accompanying outcome “Evaluate business practices and workflow to optimize efficiency” is through streamlining workflow in the collections, technology, and resource sharing areas. With the migration to a new integrated library system and the gradual expansion of the Digital Services operations, many workflows have changed over the past few years. With the anticipated opening of the Archival Center to the public, workflows will adjust once more. Some, but not all, of the efficiencies achieved are the result of new technology. Thorough training and hands-on experience have enabled staff members to learn to complete complicated tasks quickly and efficiently.
Posts Tagged ‘Sustainable Organization’
One of the ways the BPL fulfills the strategic plan’s Sustainable Organization principle is to act on the strategy “Enhance volunteer and docent programs.” That strategy is part of the outcome “Seek out and establish partnerships that enhance services.” The BPL Art and Architecture tour program is actively recruiting and training new guides to add to the corps of 32 active volunteers. Each trainee enters a process of shadowing experienced guides, studying material from the tour guide library, and constructing their own tour under the mentorship of the tour coordinator and a veteran docent. This one-on-one model follows a training and enrichment class offered for both new and experienced guides in the 2012-2013 season. By summer 2015, the goal to increase the active volunteer number to 50.
Throughout the year, the program offers bi-monthly enrichment sessions for all Art and Architecture guides and trainees. Sessions include relevant lectures with conservators, curators, and authors, as well as field trips to museums and historic sites. At each session, there is an opportunity for guides to gather around light refreshments, and the annual guide appreciation party in December allows volunteers to further strengthen their bond with the program and with each other.
New pay-for-print service kiosks will be arriving at the Central Library and the branches over the summer. At the Central Library, the kiosks will be installed area-by-area throughout the building to directly replace the existing pay-for-print machines. The area scheduled for the first installation at the Central Library is Tech Central.
At the branches, the kiosks will be delivered and placed near already-identified kiosk location. A group from the library’s IT team will visit each branch once required software upgrades are ready. The IT team will demonstrate to branch colleagues how the kiosks will be used by library patrons, and will conduct training for the branch staff.
Implementing this new system has several benefits:
- Patrons will use a single system system for printing and copying
- Introduction of a credit card payment option, which is in response to many requests
- An option to pay overdue fines via the kiosk
- Submission of print jobs via mobile devices (limited initially to any laptop on the BPL WIFI network)
- Producing satisfactory audit reports
- Existing equipment is unreliable; a problem for public, staff, and IT support.
Two of the Central Library Renovation Project’s key goals for master planning were to: “connect the library to the city,” and “to create an inviting first impression.” To put it mildly, these are unquestionably weak spots of the original Philip Johnson design, and goals which set high expectations for the renovations on the exterior of the building.
Components of the exterior renovation, now entering their final design stages include removal of almost all of the defensive granite screens on Boylston, Exeter and Blagden Streets, some of which may have a new but subtler life as paving elements. Additional features will include remodeled entrances, more energy efficient and transparent glass, with a less imposing framing structure, exterior furniture (including bike racks) and signage allowing the library experience to truly start on the outside of the building. Another creative proposal involves the use of high-limbed trees, to add a natural counterpoint to and reduce the severity of the building, all the while retaining appropriate levels of symmetry with the McKim building.
The planning team looks forward to continue its conversations with the Boston Landmarks Commission, who have jurisdiction over certain pieces of the project, and with neighborhood groups such as the Neighborhood Association of the Back Bay (NAAB) and many others. After all, statistics tell us that even today, in addition to users who consider the Central Library their main branch, 47% of all systemwide users also use the Central Library in addition to their neighborhood branch.
Boston Public Library’s new Polaris system went fully live for staff on Thursday, December 13. As with any major upgrade, there were a few minor technical glitches that morning that were quickly addressed. Due to the size of our holdings, however, the online catalog took a full four days to get fully in synch with the new cleaned-up database, but was able to provide up to date availability information by December 17. Staff have spent the two weeks since correcting other minor issues with data and patron accounts, especially the holds fulfillment process. We are continuing to ask for patience and understanding from library users whose data wasn’t completely migrated and may experience a delay in fulfilling holds. All in all, the migration has been a technical success and staff are finding it easier and more efficient to use, once they become familiar with some new procedures involved. We are confident that all these kinks will be worked out in the January time-frame, which means we can move on to a larger set of enhancements to our systems, expected to deploy in the coming six months.