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Category Archives: General

Bacchante and Infant Faun Sculpture Restored

Posted on November 14th, 2014 by admin in General
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Frederick MacMonnies’ (1863-1937) spirited piece Bacchante and Infant Faun, which is located in the courtyard of Boston Public Library’s Copley Square location, was recently restored. The piece was originally given to the library by architect Charles Follen McKim, but removed in 1897 amid protest by the local community, who thought the dancing woman celebrated drinking — and, even worse — subjected her young child to debauchery. The original piece was removed and given to the Metropolitan Museum in New York. More than 90 years later, Bacchante returned to her intended home in the fountain, cast from a copy of the popular original in Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts.

Conservators first constructed scaffolding around the piece and used granulated walnut shells to “blast” green corrosion off the sculpture. Next, they treated the sculpture’s surface to recreate the original patina. A lacquer was applied to recoat the sculpture and re-wax its surface, which adds a final protective coating. Restoration work recently took place on Bela Pratt’s Art and Science sculptures outside the Central Library’s Dartmouth Street entrance. Further details on library artwork not to miss can be found on the walking tour section of the BPL website. Visit www.bpl.org/tours for information on the library’s daily art and architecture tours.

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East Boston Branch Celebrates First Anniversary

Posted on November 9th, 2014 by admin in General
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The East Boston Branch at 365 Bremen Street completed its first full year of operations, marking a busy and productive year for the branch and its communities of users. Below are a few highlights from this past year:

  • Teens and Boston Bikes: Boston has many urban bike paths, and learning how to navigate the city safely is key. Teens learned bike safety rules and bike mechanics, meeting once a week for four weeks, and teens that attended three of the four sessions then received a bike, lock, and a helmet. They also learned about the parts of the bike and regular maintenance work, such as fixing flat tires or broken chains.
  • Eastie Week Open House: The branch participated in neighborhood celebrations honoring Eastie Week in June through a variety of activities for people of all ages. The branch hosted an ice cream social for 500 attendees, a farm visit, Spanish dancing, and a bilingual magic show.
  • Children’s programs: Homework help, story times, science experiments, arts & crafts, preschool films, and lapsits are among the activities children participated in this past year, which were met with high attendance numbers and youth ready and excited to learn.
  • Lego Mindstorm Robotics: Best Buy’s Geek Squad visited the branch during national Teen Tech Week, bringing Lego Mindstorm kits as part of a robotics program. Aspiring engineers and designers broke up into teams and designed a robot and programmed the robot to drive through a maze.
  • Adult Education Classes: English conversations groups and computer classes in Spanish generate much enthusiasm as each are often filled to capacity with adults eager to practice their English or acquire computer literacy skills.

Features of the library include dedicated areas for children, teens, and adults, free building-wide wifi, 54 computers, a flexible multipurpose room, an early literacy nook, and a quiet reading room with local history materials. Designed for building and energy efficiency, the branch recently achieved LEED Gold certification from the United States Green Building Council. The East Boston Branch’s reach, a library formula used to determine level of activity, is second only to that of the Central Library in Copley Square and continues to grow each quarter.

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.