Boston Public Library expanded its free digital magazine service by adding publications in a variety of genres; including the New Yorker, Wired, and Bon Appétit, as well as Architectural Digest, Brides, Condé Nast Traveler, and GQ. More than 130 magazines are available in English, Spanish, Chinese, Vietnamese, and Portuguese, with a new option to filter by language. Library cardholders can now also request a weekly email notification when new issues of favorite magazines are available to download. Read more »
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.
Pay-for-print Kiosks, Printers and Scanners, Software Upgrades Arrive
Boston Public Library is updating the range of technology it offers to library users citywide. Taking place now through the end of the calendar year is a series of upgrades to the technologies used by the public each day, including new pay-for-print service kiosks, desktop software upgrades with Windows 7 and Microsoft Office, and high-tech multifunction printing, copying, and scanning devices.
The new service kiosks are one of the most noticeable additions to the twenty-four branches and the Central Library in Copley Square. The bright red kiosks are part of the library’s upgraded pay-for-print system and have several features, including the introduction of paying for printing via standard credit and debit cards. Boston Public Library cards will now store up to $21 for use on the system. Read more »
Jazmin, 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.