Boston Public Library
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Category Archives: General

Meet Jazmin Idakaar, Generalist Librarian

Posted on October 31st, 2014 by admin in General
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jazminJazmin, who joined the library staff in 2014, works at the Mattapan Branch of the Boston Public Library with people of all ages. Supporting the Center of Knowledge principle of the Compass Strategic plan, she works to support the technical literacy of library users through working with other staff members to facilitate technology classes at the branch.

Why do you enjoy working for the library?

I love building new connections with library users; I have some regulars who come in now and we know each other’s names. I get to know what their needs or challenges are and build upon them.

Describe your experience teaching the laptop classes.

Each seasonal session, we offer the same basic classes to help beginners build their skills - navigating the web, word processing, social media, etc. Occasionally we get a guest speaker; we recently had a cyber security class for seniors. I walk around, make sure everyone is on the same page, and dialogue and review with everyone. I get the chance to demonstrate and explain things on the fly frequently when participants bring up new questions, which is stimulating. Regardless of the challenge of the day, it is exciting to help people acquire new skills.

How do you see users interacting with technology?

Technology has become a necessity, especially with job applications. I assist people looking for jobs via the Internet and I help guide them to sites and resources that are helpful. A large number of people who come in go straight to Bing or Google and not the BPL webpage, so I like to mention at least a few services we provide directly from our own site. Users come in with e-readers and that is my opportunity to tell them about BPL services specific to devices, for example, OverDrive.

What is your favorite service offered by the BPL?

I’d have to say OverDrive; some of my favorite audiobooks are on there. It’s nice to borrow them first and then if I like them, I might buy a few.

Reading List Roundup

Posted on October 29th, 2014 by Anna Williams in General
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The chilly temperatures and darker days make fall the perfect time to curl up with a good book. The following lists have plenty of ideas to keep readers of all interests busy throughout autumn and into the winter. Find a copy of one of the titles to take home or download to an e-reader via our catalog.

1. Just in time for Halloween, here’s a list from Oprah.com of best-selling authors’ favorite spine-tingling tales.

ScariestBooks

2. For readers who have already devoured all the works of F. Scott Fitzgerald and Nathaniel Hawthorne, this list from Buzzfeed has great suggestions for modern books that are reminiscent of the classics.

Buzzfeed 

3. Kirkus Review‘s list of books that readers can complete in a day is perfect for book-lovers who have trouble finding the time to finish a lengthy novel.

FastReads

 

4. When looking for a good book, who better to turn to than your fellow Bostonians? Here are the top-ten most borrowed fiction books in the Boston Public Library‘s collection for the month of September. 

GoneGirl

Meet Monica Shin, Digital Projects Librarian

Posted on October 10th, 2014 by admin in General
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Monica ShinAs a digital projects librarian, Monica identifies and links digital images to information that makes them more searchable in a digital setting, which supports the Access and Innovation principle of the Compass strategic plan that focuses on the library leading in digitization practices. She works to catalog the more than 95,000 images on the BPL’s Flickr site for all users to enjoy.

Do you have a favorite collection on Flickr?

We work with many collections, but I’d say my favorite is a collection by Leslie Jones, which has about 30,000 images. His sports photography from the 1930s and 1940s is amazing, and the collection itself is an archive of life as it was happening during that time period. He also gave many personal photos, which show his family on vacation, for example, and others that are beautifully created from a photography perspective.

What is the best part about working for the library?

I enjoy working with and digitizing older items from our collection that haven’t seen the light of day in a long time; whether they are in the stacks or parts of the library that the general public doesn’t get to see very often. We pull out things that our colleague curators find interesting and then get to expose them to the world, which is awesome. It helps cement the BPL presence as a research library and one that shares its treasures with everyone.

 How do you interact with library users interested in the Flickr collection?

Flickr users can leave comments on pages or email the library with questions or potential corrections to descriptions. Our team acts as the mediator between the library user and our curators, who look into the subject matter closely. We also encourage library users to make recommendations on collections for digitization. The best email to to use is digital@bpl.org.

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

Researchers who are interested in certain collections may or may not have the chance to physically come to the library. We recently put up 3,000+ stereographs on Flickr, which could be of great use to someone researching the subject. Showing the digital images with good data really helps people understand the breadth our collections. And, it might persuade people to come in and visit. Having a digital presence is important because the library is so much more than just books; posters, architectural drawings, and manuscripts are just a few examples.

Seedsharing in the Branches

Posted on October 7th, 2014 by admin in General
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Boston Public Library launched its pilot SeedShare program this past summer, debuting at the the Mattapan, Grove Hall, and East Boston branches. Over the course of the summer, Boston Natural Areas Network held workshops on gardening basics and most recently, saving and storing seeds for future use. In total, 300 seed packets were borrowed and more than 100 people attended the gardening workshops. The most popular seeds at Grove Hall were were cucumber, basil, and greens of all kinds. Seed packets were also available via the Bibliocycle that made its debut this summer as well.

The Mattapan Branch has four garden beds in the back of the building and over the course of many months, library users cleared, prepped, planted, maintained, and harvested  vegetables to take home. “Families and teens come back and tell me all about their mini gardens; some are dying, some are thriving, but it is all about doing something new and learning,” said Caren Rosales, Teen Librarian at the Mattapan Branch.

The program is a partnership between the City of Boston Office of Food Initiatives, Greenovate Boston, Boston Natural Areas Network, and Boston Public Library. The library encourages all who borrowed seeds to return a few for next season; and of course, happy harvesting.

BPLseedshare_collage

Teen Read Week at the BPL

Posted on October 7th, 2014 by admin in General
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teenTeen Read Week™ is a national youth literacy initiative created by the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA). Held annually, it began in 1998 with the purpose of encouraging teens across the country to become regular readers and library users. This year’s theme is “Turn Dreams into Reality,” with programs to be held from October 12-18 at six BPL locations: Dudley, East Boston, Hyde Park, Mattapan, Uphams Corner, and the Central Library.

“This year’s programming gives Boston teens the opportunity to express their passions and to encourage teens to use the library as a resource for strengthening their reading and writing skills,” said Youth Services Coordinator Jessi Snow. Activities includes gaming, teen crafts, creative writing workshops, a book review competition, and more. Visit the BPL calendar for the complete schedule of free Teen Read Week programs throughout the City or www.bpl.org/teens for additional teen resources.

BPL Teen Read Week 2014 Flyer

Download the PDF flyer (2 pages) of Teen Read Week activities.