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Category Archives: General

Arts + Culture Sampler

Posted on October 1st, 2014 by Gina Perille in General
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Story_sqThere is a range of art and culture events taking place across the Boston Public Library system this month. There are free gallery exhibitions and author talks along with daily art & architecture tours. There are also several arts-related convenings that the library is proud to play host to at the Central Library in Copley Square:

And that is just the beginning of what’s on the library’s calendar this month. Click over to bpl.org/calendar to search through the full set of listings. View events by neighborhood, audience, and event type.

Arts and culture is a big part of what the Boston Public Library system offers to the residents of Boston.  Arts and culture feature prominently in our strategic plan, too, under the Fun principle, where we pledge to embrace our role as a cultural and entertainment hub in the City of Boston; connect people to popular books, music, films and artwork; and showcase the library’s collections through vibrant interactive exhibitions and programs.

Boston Public Library by the Numbers [#infographic]

Posted on September 26th, 2014 by Gina Perille in General
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Highlights of key numbers and key innovations from Boston Public Library’s most recently completed fiscal year.

BPLbytheNumbersFY14The library shares a variety of facts and figures on the “BPL by the Numbers” page on this website. There you will find library-generated statistics and links to the City of Boston’s performance management program — known as BAR, which stands for “Boston About Results.” On the same page, links to data shared and collected by the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners are available.

Meet Helen Bender, West End Branch Librarian

Posted on September 23rd, 2014 by admin in General
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Helen’s role in educating library users on electronic resources, particularly e-readers, supports the library’s  Access and Innovation principle of the Compass strategic plan through keeping pace with evolving standards in technology and improving patrons’ ease-of-use with these services.

Helen Bender2

Why do you enjoy the e-reader?

It’s a great alternative format to a print book. I was an early adopter of e-readers and have owned a Kindle for years. I’ve read close to 200 books in 2014 on my Kindle and in print combined.

What services do you offer for people who need assistance with e-readers?

The West End Branch initiated drop-in sessions early on when e-readers became available. Around the holidays, and especially when more and more devices came out, we would hold larger device sessions and then offer  one-on-one help if needed. Assisting library users with their e-readers is a big priority at this branch and we can usually get someone in within a few days of a request. Our library staff also heavily promotes hoopla, our streaming media service, and digital magazine service Zinio. We find a lot of our users are interested in reading things such as The Economist and don’t know they can read it in a digital format.

What is the best part about working for the library?

I love helping people; it’s my favorite thing to do. Even when I worked in the Inter Library Loan department, there was a public service component to it that I found really enjoyable. I like finding obscure things that people are looking for and delivering them.

How does technology and digital offerings enhance service to library users?

They help a great deal; and certainly enhance service but don’t take away from circulation or library use. A lot of patrons do not have access to computers or tablets and library staff can provide a great introduction to these resources.

What Type of Library User Are You?

Posted on September 17th, 2014 by admin in General
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The Pew Research Center has focused some of their work on studying on the internet, technology, and libraries recently, particularly in relation to library users’ habits, engagement, and experiences. Below are just a few highlights from their research:

  • 72% of all Americans ages 16 and older have either used a public library (in person or via website) in the past 12 months or live in a household where another family member or a child is an active recent user of the library.
  • 80% of Americans under age 30 say that librarians are a “very important” resource for libraries to have.
  • Almost one in five (18%) Americans ages 16-29 have used a mobile device to visit a public library’s website or access library resources in the past 12 months, compared with 12% of those ages 30 and older.
  • 71% of city dwellers say the library is important to them and 59% have library cards — and 69% of suburban residents say the library is important and 61% have library cards.
  • Family and friends are the primary source of book discovery for Americans 16 and older, especially so for suburban (66%) and urban residents (66%). Some 60% of rural residents say they get book recommendations from family and friends. Similarly, city dwellers (25%) and suburbanites (24%) are more likely than rural residents (18%) to have received recommendations from book stores they visit. Residents of all three kinds of communities are equally likely to say librarians and library websites are sources of book recommendations.

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To see more of Pew’s research, visit pewresearch.org/topics/libraries/. To learn how to sign-up for a Boston Public Library card, visit bit.ly/BPLgetcarded. September is national library card sign-up month. Anyone who lives, works, or goes to school in Massachusetts can have a Boston Public Library card.

Latino Life Booklist

Posted on September 15th, 2014 by admin in General
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BPLlatinolifecover2014The library celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month (September 15 – October 15) annually through publishing the Latino Life booklist, which is a list of recent books concerning the Hispanic experience.

Latino Life 2014 features 55 titles organized into the following sections: biography, expressions, history and contemporary issues, and fiction.  Each book on the list is briefly summarized. This work was performed by a committee of  Boston Public library staff members. Copies of the booklist are available at all Boston Public Library locations across the city.

“This year’s list is quite diverse and has something for everyone; whether it is a book on Cuban poster art, Rosie Perez’s revealing autobiography, or the newest novel by Cristina Henriquez,” said Amy Manson, chair of the Latino Life booklist committee and generalist librarian at the Connolly Branch. The list is useful for not only library users, but also Latino Studies professors and high school teachers who have used the lists with their students throughout the years who have expressed their appreciation for the resource.

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