Press Room

Central Library Renovation Profiles: Sydney Thiel, Major Projects Coordinator

by awilliams

Sydney provides a behind-the-scenes look at the Central Library’s Johnson Level 2 renovation that opened in February 2015 and looks ahead to the ongoing renovations, set to open summer 2016.

Sydney ThielWhat is your role in the Central Library renovation?

As Major Projects Coordinator, my job is to understand and collect information about the vision and goals for the renovation and ensure that the design elements of the space incorporate and meet those objectives. I also am heavily involved in the supplemental design projects of the renovation. For the Johnson Level 2 renovation, for instance, I oversaw the fabrication and installation of the Children’s Library StoryScape area, lion cubs, early literacy sensory wall, bookbirds, and the interior decoration features of Teen Central.

What was one of your goals for the Johnson Level 2 renovation?

One of my main goals with the second floor renovation – and for the upcoming phase 2 of the renovation – was to ensure that the finished project met the library’s aspirations and vision. On a personal level, when working on the Children’s Library, my goal was to create a space I could picture my four-year-old daughter using and enjoying. It was very rewarding to be able to show her the new Children’s Library and see her reaction. She loves it.

What is your favorite thing about the Johnson Level 2 renovation?

I enjoy the liveliness of the space. It is much more uplifting and vibrant than it used to be, and it is now a destination in Boston. It is a place where visitors can partake of everything the library has to offer.

What has most surprised you about the public’s reaction to the renovations?

I am surprised by how much buzz there has been around the renovation in the Boston community. I was recently walking in Jamaica Plain when I overheard two people talking about how amazing the renovation is and how people need to see it. As a civic project, the renovation is meant to benefit the public, so it is very rewarding to know that it resonates with the people it is intended to serve.

What are you most looking forward to about working on the next phase of the renovation?

I am eager to start exploring how we can keep phase one and phase two of the renovation consistent with one another through design elements such as colors and finishes. I am also interested in looking into how we can further visually connect the McKim building with the Johnson building. Instead of two distinct buildings, I hope that after the renovation is complete the McKim and Johnson buildings will feel more open to one another and reflect that they are both part of the same Central Library. I am also looking forward to seeing the streetscape outside the Johnson building transformed through landscaping. Once trees and seating are added, the library will extend its presence outside its walls.

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