Press Room

Boston Public Library’s Homework Help Begins at Locations Across the City

Posted on November 2nd, 2016 by rlavery in Media Releases
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Boston Public Library’s free Homework Help program is underway and runs through May 25, 2017, offering free afterschool help and mentorship provided by high-achieving high school students. The program, offered Monday through Thursday from 3:30 -5:30 p.m. is open to students in grades K-8; no registration required. Boston Teacher’s Union tutors are also available during select weekdays from 4-6 p.m. for students in grades K-12. Visit for complete information.

“Homework Help is an essential resource offered to Boston’s youth to encourage learning in a safe, welcoming environment, and we are immensely grateful to Harvard University for their training support of the high school mentors who implement the program throughout our locations,” said David Leonard, President of the Boston Public Library.

Boston Public Library began collaborating with Harvard University to provide SmartTALK training to Homework Help mentors in 2014. Since its launch in 2008, SmartTALK has worked to help adequately prepare and train educators and mentors in Cambridge and Boston to help children of all ages develop strong academic and social skills outside of school hours.

“Homework help gives students the confidence they need to become critical thinkers and to develop their skills in a supportive setting, and libraries will always be a place that children can turn to for educational assistance,” said Farouqua Abuzeit, Manager of Youth Services for the Boston Public Library.

Online help is also available through LearningExpress Library, which can help students from grade school through college improve their skills by taking practice tests, completing exercises, and reading e-books. LearningExpress can also help college-bound students prepare for the ACT, SAT, and other standardized tests. Students may also search for articles and use books online with student electronic resources, and look for book, CDs, movies, and more in the BPL catalog.

Boston Public Library has a Central Library, twenty-four branches, map center, business library, and a website filled with digital content and services. Established in 1848, the Boston Public Library has pioneered public library service in America. It was the first large free municipal library in the United States, the first public library to lend books, the first to have a branch library, and the first to have a children’s room. Each year, the Boston Public Library hosts thousands of programs and serves millions of people. All of its programs and exhibitions are free and open to the public. At the Boston Public Library, books are just the beginning. To learn more, visit



Brendan Kiely, Jason Reynolds, and Boston Public Library Visit DYS

Posted on October 28th, 2016 by awilliams in General


Brendan Kiely and Jason Reynolds speak youth in the DYS residential programs in Dorchester.

Boston Public Library’s partnership with the Massachusetts juvenile justice agency, the Department of Youth Services (DYS), is one of the key ways that BPL helps connect people of all ages and backgrounds with books that reflect their lived experiences. As part of these outreach efforts at DYS, on Wednesday, October 5th the Boston Public Library brought Brendan Kiely and Jason Reynolds, coauthors of the young adult book All American Boys, which examines police brutality from the perspective of two characters, to speak to youth in the DYS residential programs in Dorchester.

Kiely and Reynolds met with two groups of DYS youth to discuss how and why All American Boys, a 2016 Coretta Scott King Author Honor book, came to be. Jason Reynolds, recently short-listed for the National Book Award for Ghost, wrote about Rashad, a black teen who experiences violence at the hands of a cop. Kiely, author of The Last True Love Story and The Gospel of Winter, contributed the sections featuring Quinn, Rashad’s white classmate who witnesses the incident.

The book has roots in the authors’ own experiences and perspectives. When he was a teenager in Washington, D.C., Reynolds explained, he and three other black friends were pulled over by a cop for running a yellow light. When one of his friends opened the car door to hand the cop the registration, the cop pointed a gun at them. Four more cop cars pulled up, and the officers ordered the boys out of the car, handcuffed them, and searched the car. After the cops finally let them go, Reynolds and his friends never talked about the incident – for them, Reynolds said, there was nothing unusual about it. Kiely explained that growing up as a white kid in the Boston area, he didn’t have the same experiences as Reynolds, and he created Quinn because he wants people like him to understand that police encounters like the ones described in the book actually happen.

keily-and-reynolds-1The DYS youth had plenty of questions for the authors. In response to a boy who asked what it takes to write a book, Reynolds replied “Discipline.” Another asked how they chose the title for the book, and Kiely and Reynolds said that they wanted to show that the character of Rashad is as much of a typical American as Quinn. Reynolds added that his one objection to the title is that it leaves out girls; he said that women have always been the backbone of change in America, and the book’s strong female characters reflect that.

In addition to bringing authors to DYS, BPL’s teen and youth librarians make monthly trips to the residential facility to give book talks and make books available for the youth to borrow. The youth can also request books, and the librarian will bring them on the next visit.

“Our partnership with DYS helps connect the youth residents to books with characters and experiences they can identify with,” says Jessi Snow, Central Teen Services Team Leader. “Talks with such notable authors as Brendan Kiely and Jason Reynolds get DYS youth excited about reading.”

Other Boston Public Library outreach initiatives for children and teens include visits to Boston’s Children’s Hospital and Massachusetts General Hospital, where youth librarians read to patients and introduce teen parents to the BPL’s many free resources related to children and literacy.

Boston Public Library’s November Author Talks and Shakespeare Programs

Posted on October 26th, 2016 by rlavery in Media Releases
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downloads14-001Boston Public Library’s November author talks and literary events feature a variety of topics, including the history of dining in Boston, Shakespeare & cocktails, and improving reading in children. The Shakespeare initiative “All the City’s A Stage: A Season of Shakespeare at the Boston Public Library” continues this month with programs available across the system.

  • Justin Goodstein explores the history of Haymarket, from its beginnings as an expansion of Quincy Market in the first half of the nineteenth century to its current incarnation as a host of an ever-changing and diverse population on Wednesday, November 2, at 6 p.m. in the Commonwealth Salon at the Central Library in Copley Square.
  • Hundred Year Retroactive Book Award of 1916: Three bestselling books of 1916; Robert Frost’s Mountain Interval, Albert Einstein’s Relativity, and Margaret Sanger’s What Every Girl Should Know, will be defended by Poet Laureate Robert Pinsky, MIT professor Alan Lightman, and WGBH’s Margery Eagan. Author Stona Fitch will moderate the debate on Thursday, November 3, at 6:30 p.m. in the Abbey Room at the Central Library in Copley Square. Presented by the Associates of the Boston Public Library.
  • City of Boston Poet Laureate Danielle Legros Georges visits the South Boston Branch at 646 East Broadway on Saturday, November 5, from 2-4 p.m. to meet with aspiring poets and provide feedback on their works.
  • Reading Specialist Lorna Kaufman, Ph.D. will discuss her book Smart Kid, Can’t Read, which reveals the five steps to help improve children’s reading ability on Tuesday, November 8, at 6:30 p.m. at the South End Branch, located at 685 Tremont Street.
  • Jenna Russell, coauthor of Long Mile Home, an account of the Boston Marathon bombing, talks about her book and her work as a Spotlight investigative reporter for The Boston Globe on Saturday, November 12, at 2 p.m. at the Brighton Branch, located at 40 Academy Hill Road in Brighton.
  • James C. O’Connell reveals a unique history of dining in Boston, sharing stories of the most-beloved Boston restaurants of yesterday and today as he discusses Dining out in Boston: A Culinary History on Wednesday, November 16, at 6 p.m. in the Commonwealth Salon at the Central Library in Copley Square.
  • Caroline Bicks and Michelle Ephraim, established Shakespeare professors and humor writers, discuss their irreverent cocktail book Shakespeare, Not Stirred: Cocktails for Your Everyday Dramas that adds a Shakespearean twist to life’s everyday highs and lows on Thursday, November 17, at 6 p.m. in the Commonwealth Salon at the Central Library in Copley Square.
  • The Friends of the South Boston Branch hold their final book sale of the fall season on Saturday, November 19, from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. at the South Boston Branch, located at 646 East Broadway.

Read more »

Boston Public Library Commemorates 400th Anniversary of Shakespeare’s Death with Shakespeare Unauthorized Exhibition and Citywide Initiative

Posted on October 14th, 2016 by rlavery in Media Releases
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Free exhibition opens today, presented by Iron Mountain Incorporated

2016 marks the 400th anniversary of William Shakespeare’s death, and Boston Public Library honors the Bard’s lasting legacy with its Shakespeare Unauthorized exhibition, opening today in the McKim Exhibition Hall at the Central Library in Copley Square. The exhibition is presented in conjunction with the BPL citywide initiative All the City’s a Stage: A Season of Shakespeare at the Boston Public Library, connecting audiences to theater and the dramatic arts with programs throughout the library system. Boston Public Library holds one of the largest and most comprehensive publicly-held collections of Shakespeare, including the first four folios of his collected works, 45 early quarto editions of individual plays, and thousands of volumes of early source material, commentaries, translations, manuscripts, and more. Visit to view the complete offerings of the initiative.

“At some point in life, everyone has experienced the work of Shakespeare,” said Mayor Martin J. Walsh. “These opportunities at the Boston Public Library give all the chance to learn more about the creative genius of Shakespeare and how his legacy lives on today.”

“Shakespeare Unauthorized is sure to engage and inspire people of all ages, and we hope visitors leave with a better understanding of not only Shakespeare’s works, but an appreciation for the world-class Shakespeare holdings of one of Boston’s finest cultural institutions,” said Julie Burros, Chief of Arts & Culture for the City of Boston. “We applaud the Boston Public Library for ensuring these works are accessible to everyone.” Read more »

Boston Public Library Restores Treasured Artwork Using Unprecedented Conservation Technique

Posted on September 28th, 2016 by rlavery in Media Releases
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desktop296Philosophy Panel Returns to the Grand Staircase at the Central Library in Copley Square

Artist Pierre Puvis de Chavannes’ Philosophy panel, approximately 14’ x 7’ in size and 160 pounds, has been successfully restored and returned to its location on the walls of the grand staircase in the McKim building at the Central Library in Copley Square. This section of the Chavannes’ mural was conserved using an unprecedented innovative technique and returned to its alcove after months of careful restoration. The ambitious procedure has rarely been attempted on a marouflage canvas, as artwork adhered in this way is not expected to be removed once permanently affixed to its backing structure.

“Preserving Boston’s dynamic arts and culture will always be an important part of our city’s heritage,” said Mayor Martin J. Walsh. “Visitors at the Central Library can once again enjoy the Pierre Puvis de Chavannes mural in its entirety. I welcome all to visit the mural, and see a great work of art in Boston.”

French artist Pierre Puvis de Chavannes is considered one of the preeminent European artists of the 19th century, and the Central Library contains his only mural installation outside of France. Philosophy is one of eight allegorical scenes – each depicting an academic discipline – that surround the Central Library’s grand staircase. Other panels in the cycle include Astronomy, History, Chemistry, Physics, Pastoral Poetry, Dramatic Poetry, and Epic Poetry. A ninth, broader panel flanks the entrance to Bates Hall and depicts “The Muses of Inspiration Welcoming the Spirit of Light.” Read more »