Press Room

A New Entrance: the Boylston & Exeter Streetscapes of the Central Library Renovation

Posted on August 3rd, 2016 by BPL News in Central Library Renovation Reopening

LandscapeThe Central Library Renovation starts at the curb. Guided by a philosophy of welcome, warmth, and engagement, once you set foot on the block your experience of the Boston Public Library begins.

At the Boylston Street entrance of the Central Library there is new space for community gathering that extends the library experience beyond its doors. Once intended for pedestrian movement alone and separated from the building by a series of granite screens or plinths, the sidewalk is now an inviting space that visitors can enjoy, thanks to a redesign by landscape architecture firm Reed Hilderbrand, working under the guidance of Willam Rawn Associates, Architects, Inc. A subtle row of eight Honey Locusts shade the sidewalk on the Boylston Street side, and Autumn Blaze Maples stand on Exeter Street, bringing a welcoming, colorful, and natural presence to the streetscape.

Visitors will now be able to take a seat, perch, or hold informal group meetings inside and outside the library, at an exterior group of benches or at the communal “Civic Table” with its differing heights for children and adults, providing a welcoming area for gathering and hanging out.

After dark, a system of catenary lights interspersing the tree line illuminates this “outdoor room” on Boylston Street. In addition to creating a community space, the Civic Table brings elements of the Library outside, inspired by the large tables inside the Central Library and wired to support digital access. The landscape also helps visually extend the Library onto the street, as the pavers form a pattern that mirrors those inside the new building entrance.

While this new streetscape meets the current needs of today’s Boston, it also preserves the history of the Johnson building by repurposing its materials. The granite plinths that once guarded the windows of the building and enclosed small inaccessible gardens have been reimagined as sidewalk pavers. In a nod to their past, one edge of the plinth pavers aligns with the outside edge of the former gardens. The square pavers that once marked the entrance to the Johnson building on Boylston Street have been re-laid in their original pattern, continuing a type of granite carpet from curb to interior.

Thanks to this new welcoming and warm landscape, the Central Library is now more intimately connected to the streetscape and the city of Boston.

Color Boston Public Library’s Collections for National Coloring Book Day

Posted on August 2nd, 2016 by BPL News in General

August 2 is National Coloring Book Day, and in celebration, we bring you four prints from our collections for you to color. To get started, click on the picture below to download a PDF of each image in coloring format. Then, print the image and color away!


19th-Century American Trade Card for Lothrops, Farnham & Co. See the original here.

McKim Buildling

Boston Public Library Postcard from the Tichnor Brothers Collection. See the original here.

Philosophy Panel

Philosophy Mural Panel by Pierre Puvis de Chavannes at the Central Library in Copley Square.
See the original here.


Set design drawing by Antonio Aquaroni. See the original here.


Boston Public Library’s August Author Talks and Programs

Posted on July 26th, 2016 by BPL News in Media Releases

Boston Public Library’s August author talks and programs feature learning opportunities for people of all ages, including summer reading, Read Your Way to Fenway, visits from the ReadBoston StoryMobile, and more.

  • Local author Frances Driscoll reads her picture book The Swan Boat Ride for those ages 4 and up on Thursday, August 4, at 3:30 p.m. at the North End Branch, located at 25 Parmenter Street.
  • Liz Moore reads from her book The Unseen World, which is the story of a precocious young girl’s search for her father’s identity, set in Dorchester. Thursday, August 11, at 6:30 p.m. at the Grove Hall Branch, located at 41 Geneva Avenue.
  • Professional genealogist, speaker, and author Mary M. Tedesco discusses strategies and resources for locating your ancestral town through using records available in the United States and online. Thursday, August 18, at 6 p.m. in the Commonwealth Salon at the Central Library in Copley Square, located at 700 Boylston Street.
  • The Friends of the South Boston Branch hold their last book sale of the summer on Saturday, August 20, from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. at the South Boston Branch, located at 646 East Broadway.
  • Author and BPL staff member John DeVito examines how the legend of Jackie Kennedy lives on in popular culture on Wednesday, August 31, at 6:30 p.m. at the Adams Street Branch at 690 Adams Street in Dorchester.
  • Children learn the history of their favorite home teams and make crafts when Historic New England visits locations throughout the system.
  • Youth join librarians for sports-themed activities for a Ready, Set, Make! program at the Adams, Faneuil, Fields Corner, Hyde Park, Roslindale, and West End branches in August.
  • The ReadBoston StoryMobile visits 12 BPL locations once a week for six weeks this summer to provide fun storytelling events and free books for all children in attendance. Appropriate for ages 3-8.
  • The New England Aquarium travels to the Honan-Allston and South Boston branches, in addition to the Central Library in Copley Square, in August.
  • Young people ages 5-17 may participate in the annual Read Your Way to Fenway summer essay contest for the opportunity to watch the Red Sox play at Fenway Park by reading a minimum of three books and writing an essay about their favorite. Contest details and more are available online at
  • Teens “Build the Future” and write book reviews, build an app for their phone, and learn how to use Scratch or Python programs this month. Teens can record their activities to earn badges to become eligible for a grand prize. Visit for the complete schedule.
  • Adult summer reading takes place at the Dudley, East Boston, Fields Corner, Grove Hall, Lower Mills, Mattapan, and Uphams Corner branches, with the theme “Exercise Your Mind – Read!” Patrons receive raffle tickets for reading or exercising and are entered into a weekly drawing at participating branches, and those branches host health and wellness-themed events.


Boston Public Library has a Central Library, twenty-four branches, map center, business library, and a website filled with digital content and services. Established in 1848, the Boston Public Library has pioneered public library service in America. It was the first large free municipal library in the United States, the first public library to lend books, the first to have a branch library, and the first to have a children’s room. Each year, the Boston Public Library hosts thousands of programs and serves millions of people. All of its programs and exhibitions are free and open to the public. At the Boston Public Library, books are just the beginning. To learn more, visit


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American Repertory Theater, 826 Boston, and the Boston Public Library Announce the Fourth Annual WORDplay Program July 18-August 19

Posted on July 18th, 2016 by BPL News in Media Releases

The American Repertory Theater (A.R.T.) at Harvard University, 826 Boston, and Boston Public Library (BPL) announce the fourth annual WORDplay Program, a summer theater and writing intensive for Boston Public School (BPS) students entering the 8th and 9th grades in 2016. It takes place Monday through Thursday, 11:30 – 5:30pm, in the newly unveiled Kirstein Business Library and Innovation Center at the Boston Public Library’s Central Library in Copley Square, one of the centerpieces of the Library’s extensive renovations.

WORDplay 2016 will be the Kirstein Business Library and Innovation Center’s very first residency.

This summer, the A.R.T. and 826 Boston have expanded their partnership to include not only the Boston Public Library, but also the support of Boston After School and Beyond (BASB), a public-private partnership within BPS that leverages the public school system’s resources to enhance after school engagement for high-risk student populations and English Language Learners. Through A.R.T’s partnership with BASB, WORDplay has been designated an official Boston “Summer Learning Site” and, for the first time, will provide each of our young artists with a generous stipend upon completion of the program.

Twenty-five BPS students from Allston/Brighton, Dorchester, Roslindale, and Roxbury have been chosen by lottery to participate in a five-week program from July 18 through August 19. Over five weeks, students will conceptualize and write a script for a play inspired by the A.R.T.’s upcoming production of Anna Deavere Smith’s Notes from the Field: Doing Time in Education, a new one-woman show about the “School-to-Prison Pipeline” crisis facing our education system, opening on August 20 at the A.R.T.’s Loeb Drama Center. Echoing Ms. Smith’s method of gathering source material, the students will conduct interviews with local government officials (including William Morales, Commissioner of Boston Centers for Youth and Families), school administrators, teachers, parents, education reform advocates, and their peers on the subject of education and mass incarceration. The campers will create their production under the guidance of writing tutors from 826 Boston and professional theater artists from the A.R.T. They will also have the opportunity to visit the A.R.T.’s Mainstage as part of the curriculum.

The camp will culminate in a free public performance by the students on Thursday, August 18th (time and location TBD). The resulting script will be published by 826 Boston and provided to each camper at a special book release party later in 2016. Read more »

Mayor Martin J. Walsh and Boston Public Library Celebrate Central Library Renovation Opening Today

Posted on July 9th, 2016 by BPL News in Media Releases
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Click for full size (4071 × 2214)

Click image for full size (4071 × 2214)

Mayor Martin J. Walsh and the Boston Public Library celebrated the grand reopening of the Central Library Renovation today with a 10:30 a.m. ribbon cutting. The grand reopening marks the completion of the second and final phase of the renovation of the Central Library in Copley Square, which has been managed by the City of Boston’s Public Facilities Department. This second phase of work includes updates to the lower level, first floor, mezzanine, and the building exterior of the Johnson building, which opened in 1972. The Central Library Renovation puts the Boston Public Library on the cutting edge of library services – reshaping and redefining the patron experience at a 21st century urban public library.

“The reopening of the Central Library’s Johnson building represents the investments we make in the future of all Boston residents, as our libraries are critical resources where residents gather to exchange and seek knowledge and information,” said Mayor Walsh. “I’m grateful to all who contributed to the success of this project, and I look forward to Boston’s residents and visitors enjoying the library’s enhancements.”

Highlights of the second phase of the renovation include removal of the granite plinths that covered the Johnson building windows – reconnecting the building to the street; a revamped lecture hall for author talks and programming, a new innovation center, new Mac and Windows computers for the public computing area, a hi-tech community learning center, an enlarged Fiction section and new ways of book browsing, digital stacks to explore the BPL’s digitized collections, a state-of-the art Welcome Center, a digital imaging suite, and major landscape components along Boylston Street, including a civic table and new trees. The enterprise retail space at the corner of Boylston and Exeter Streets will feature The Newsfeed Café, opening mid-summer and operated by The Catered Affair, and a WGBH News satellite bureau and studio. Patrons will move seamlessly between the enterprise retail space and the Library. Read more »