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Central Library Renovation Reopening: Expanded Computer Resources at Tech Central

Posted on June 6th, 2016 by BPL News in Central Library Renovation Reopening

Tech Central

Tech Central is the place at the Central Library to use a computer and get online, as well as use basic printing and scanning services. Located on the first floor of the Johnson building the BPL now offers twice as many computers as before, with 85 workstations for sixty-minute use and 20 for express use. In addition, the offerings at Tech Central have been expanded to include both Mac and Windows computers.

With their library cards, patrons can log into any available 60-minute computer workstation, or put themselves in the queue via a signup station if no workstations are available. New wall-mounted queue screens allow patrons to see their position in line more clearly. Tech Central also has upgraded accessibility options, with five dedicated computers that feature updated software, including a closed-circuit television, scanner, Braille embosser, and computers with JAWS 17, a screen reading program that converts text and pictures into audio.

For those patrons who are interested in developing their computer skills, the Johnson building’s new Tech Lab on the mezzanine will host a variety of computer-themed classes, including beginner- to intermediate-level computer classes and workshops on tablets, social media, and career resources.

Central Library Renovation Reopening: Supporting and Empowering Entrepreneurs

Posted on June 6th, 2016 by BPL News in Central Library Renovation Reopening

Kirstein Business & Innovation CenterMedia creators, innovators, job seekers, entrepreneurs, nonprofits, investors, coders, and makers are all invited to the Kirstein Business Library & Innovation Center (KBLIC). Business-minded individuals can enjoy an inviting and modern space with over 5,000 square feet of printed resources, flexible seating, innovative technology to conduct business research, and dedicated areas for collaborating on projects with colleagues or developing a new career skill. Drop by KBLIC for access to and courses in the latest video editing and production technologies. Visitors will be inspired with a fresh vibe, cool color pallet, and a variety of comfortable work tables and seating options.

Outside KBLIC on the lower level of the Johnson building is the Exchange, an area that offers a multi-use conference room, classroom, and a “teaching maker space.” The KBLIC will also offer startup mentorships, legal clinics for small businesses, financial planning seminars, career guidance, learn-to-code classes, graphic design tutorials, and more.

For aspiring media creators, the InnoLAB will be the perfect space to design and produce video and record audio. Patrons will be able to create polished projects with access to software such as Final Cut Pro, LogicPro, Ableton, Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator and enhance their work through the use of a green screen and mixing board. Visitors can also explore and use the InnoLAB’s 3D printer.

For visitors looking for a casual meeting space, the renovated Johnson building will have the Connector. Located between KBLIC and Rabb Lecture Hall, the Connector is a welcoming place to network with peers over a cup of coffee.

KBLIC will also host a variety of short-term partners-in-residence from the area’s creative entrepreneurial network. At Kirstein Business Library & Innovation Center, business is more than just numbers; it’s also creativity and collaboration.

Central Library Renovation Reopening: Lifelong Learning

Posted on June 6th, 2016 by BPL News in Central Library Renovation Reopening

Lifelong Learning

From college preparation to literacy and tech classes to talks and lectures, the Central Library Renovation provides a place for lifelong learning in Boston. Enjoy classes, events, and programs in new cutting-edge spaces, or book a meeting room for a small group.

The revamped Rabb Hall, located on the lower level of the Johnson building, is a state-of-the-art auditorium for lectures and programs. The space has a capacity of 323 with 306 seats, new carpet, theater-quality lighting, a new projection display system and speakers, wood wall panels with acoustical treatment for optimized sound, and updated technology for filming and streaming programs.  Rabb Hall includes space for up to 17 wheelchairs and a new lift that will assist patrons and presenters.

Rabb Hall will be home to the BPL’s Lowell Lecture series, Author Talks and other high-profile lectures, as well as new programming such as a fall/winter concert series and theater productions performed in conjunction with the library’s Shakespeare-themed exhibition in fall 2016. Rabb Hall will also be available for nonprofit and community meetings and events.

Learning and discovery continues on the Johnson building’s mezzanine level in the Community Learning Center, which includes three conference rooms and the Classroom. In the Classroom, which houses 20 computers, the public will be able to take a variety of computer-themed classes, including beginner- to intermediate-level computer classes and workshops on tablets, social media, and career resources. The three conference rooms will be used for ESL conversation groups and classes, ESL tutoring, adult basic education workshops, literacy-themed classes, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services information sessions, community-based organization legal clinics, and more. In addition the three conference rooms will be available for the public to book for community meetings as outlined in the BPL’s Meeting Room Use Policy.

The Central Library Renovation will also provide space for one of the Boston Public Library’s partner organizations, the ASA College Planning Center. From its new location in the lower level of the Johnson building, as well as throughout the branches, the nonprofit will continue to help young people and adults from all backgrounds plan for college and find sources of financial aid.


Central Library Renovation Reopening: Warmer Welcomes

Posted on June 6th, 2016 by BPL News in Central Library Renovation Reopening

WelcomingVisitors to the Central Library in Copley Square can quickly find all that the library has to offer that day by speaking with a friendly staff member at the Johnson building’s new Welcome Center or discovering information about programs and events on digital signs around the building.

The new Welcome Center, located just inside the front door of the Johnson building, is the place to ask a BPL staff member for directions, referrals, or information about upcoming programs. It’s also where visitors can virtually engage with the library through a 41-screen digital interface designed by Cambridge-based Small Design Firm. Here, the public can follow the BPL’s Twitter and Instagram feeds in real time, see library usage stats such as active book returns and checkouts, explore a visualization of the BPL’s catalog, see popular and newly added titles, and learn curious facts about the BPL and Boston. In addition, patrons can take a “shelf-portrait” – a self-portrait formed from the text of classic novels – to download and save or record a video-response to a question posed by the library.

With more than 10,000 programs and events across the BPL system each year, the new digital information screens will also help patrons discover all the library’s opportunities for learning and exploring. The interactive screens will provide access to FAQs, general library information, and a searchable calendar of events. In addition, the screens will promote programs taking place at the Central Library to encourage visitor participation.

Central Library Renovation Reopening: A Transformed Building

Posted on June 6th, 2016 by BPL News in Central Library Renovation Reopening

Brand New Inside Outside the Norm

Inviting and inspiring, the Central Library Renovation has transformed the way the public interacts with and accesses the Johnson building and the services within. Designed by

William Rawn Associates, Architects, Inc. the renovation seeks to preserve the integrity of architect Phillip Johnson’s 1972 construction, while adding architectural features that make it more connected to the historic McKim building and to Boylston Street, and more aligned with the BPL’s 21st century library mission.

Once closed off from the outside by tinted windows and a series of granite screens or ‘plinths,’ the renovated Johnson building is now visually open to the street. With the plinths removed, clear glass windows, and new landscaping including trees, a civic table, and walking paths, the Central Library and Boylston Street are now connected like never before. Removing the Johnson building’s original first floor lobby walls means that, instead of a shadowy entrance, visitors are now greeted with the uplifting view of the entire first floor and mezzanine under one continuous ceiling.

When necessary, glass has been utilized to create boundaries within, while allowing a visually open floor plan. A retractable glass wall separates the retail space from the rest of the first floor, and a glass elevator between the Johnson and McKim buildings allows better visibility between the two. Staircases now lead to the mezzanine level with its newly elevated ceilings, making it easier for visitors to intuitively navigate the space. This open design has not only made the Johnson building much more inviting and uplifting, but it also makes more visible Phillip Johnson’s original nine-square building plan.

The renovated Johnson building also draws on the colors and materials of the McKim building to strengthen the connection between the two. The vibrant color scheme of the Johnson building’s walls and carpets is pulled from the McKim building’s famed murals and paintings, while the stone floor and soaring entrance take their cue from the McKim building’s magnificent lobby. Discovery of the two courtyards now becomes possible directly from the Boylston Street Entrance. Additional design features include warm wood paneling and contemporary furniture. When possible, the renovation recycles old materials: the Johnson building’s original granite plinths can be found in the exterior paving and its original tables have been refinished for the mezzanine.  One of the 6 exterior ‘plinth gardens’ is preserved at the rear of the building.

From the open plan to the warm colors to the nods to the historic McKim building, the Central Library Renovation carries the legacy of Philip Johnson’s architecture into the 21st century.