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Central Library Renovation Profiles: Chris Glass, Reader and Information Librarian, Reference and Reader’s Advisory Department

Posted on June 12th, 2015 by admin in General

Chris Glass highlights the features of the new second floor’s Adult Reference area.

What role did your department play in the Central Library’s Johnson Level 2 renovation?

Chris GlassBecause the Reference and Reader’s Advisory department staffs Adult Reference on Johnson Level 2, we got to contribute our ideas for the orientation of the Information Desk, the layout of the area, and the technology in the space, such as the dedicated research computers. We also launched new online library guides to coincide with the renovation opening. The library guides are a collection of online information and resources on particular topics, including Boston history, literary resources for ESL students and educators, and health tips. Not only do the guides help library users navigate specific topics, but they also connect people outside of the building with our resources.

How does the renovation benefit the public and the particular group you serve?

We’ve introduced a new staffing model of having one librarian at the desk and one librarian on the floor assisting users, and this has created more engagement with visitors. Because of the bright windows and open layout of the space, users are better able to navigate the shelves. We were also able to add to our nonfiction collection and replace outdated books – computer manuals, for instance – with up-to-date editions. The teens benefit from now being on the same floor as the adult nonfiction collection, as they often use those books for homework and research.

IMG_05328What is your favorite thing about the Johnson Level 2 renovation?

Visitors to the new floor want to spend time there. Before the renovation, they would grab a book and go, but now they spend all day studying, working, and reading in Boylston Common, the community reading area. I like that the space provides an alternative atmosphere to the McKim building’s Bates Hall. If visitors want a more casual, comfortable environment where they can work with others, they can come to Johnson Level 2; if they want a quiet area for individual reading and studying, surrounded by historical art and architecture, they can go to Bates Hall.

What has most surprised you about the public’s reaction to the renovations?

IMG_05316The feedback from the public has been overwhelmingly positive. People seem to feel comfortable and at home on the new second floor, and they love the bold colors in particular.

What are you most looking forward to about phase 2 of the renovation?

I can’t wait to see what it will look like when it’s done. The new books and media area inside the Boylston Street entrance will provide a great opportunity for interaction and conversation. Our job as a department is not only to help with research and assist people in using the different parts of the library and catalog effectively, but to also connect readers with what interests them. The new space will facilitate both of those goals.

Central Library Renovation Profiles: Laura Koenig, Team Leader, Central Library Children’s Services

Posted on April 30th, 2015 by admin in General

Laura talks about the work that went into the creation of the new Children’s Library.

What is your role in the Central Library Renovation?Laura Koenig

I was a member of the library team that coordinated with the architects on the design of the Children’s Library and Teen Central. I gathered feedback from children, teenagers, and families on what they would like to see in the space and brought those ideas to the design team. I also got to have a hand in all the design elements in the Children’s Library and Teen Central. I took a lead role in the creation of the sensory wall in the early literacy area ToddleTown, which serves not only babies and toddlers but also children on the autism spectrum. I spoke to people who work with children on the autism spectrum and combined that with my own knowledge of early literacy and brain development in young children to make suggestions about how the area could meet the needs of both communities.

What was one of your goals with the Johnson Level 2 Renovation?

My main goal was to create a first-class space for Boston’s children and teens. I also wanted the Children’s Library to benefit kids in all stages of development. There is a huge difference between how a two-year-old and a ten-year-old use a library, and during the design process, we put a lot of thought into how the Children’s Library could serve each age group. The early literacy area ToddleTown provides children ages three and under with a safe space to explore and move; the StoryScape area is for older children to engage in imaginative play with books, toys, costumes, and props; and the tween space gives tweens a place to hang out away from the younger kids, and it’s also where afterschool homework help takes place.

What is your favorite thing about the Johnson Level 2 renovation?

I love the Children’s Library as a whole; my very favorite part is ToddleTown, the early literacy area. It reflects our research into early brain development, and I like that it also addresses some of the needs of children on the autism spectrum. The Public Gardens-themed graphics with details from Make Way for Ducklings are charming, and it is home to one of our three lion cubs. The best part is that it has gotten very heavy use and is beloved by children and parents.

What are you most looking forward to about the next phase of the renovation?

I am excited about the new books and media area that will greet visitors when they enter the Johnson building. I also think the digital labs for adults will be a great addition. The digital lab in Teen Central has gotten a great response, and the next phase of the renovation will make that technology available for everyone.

Boston Public Library’s Bibliocycle Rolls through City’s Neighborhoods

Posted on April 29th, 2015 by admin in Media Releases

Visits to Boston events include pop-up story times, book checkouts, and card sign upsbib

The BPL Bibliocycle, a bike and book trailer partnership with Boston Bikes, returns to the streets of Boston in its second season, visiting street fairs, markets, and community events to meet people where they are and deliver library services on-the-go. The first stop for the Bibliocycle will be on Saturday, May 16, at the Kite and Bike Festival in Franklin Park.

“This program provides an abundance of educational opportunities for community members at a variety of local cultural events. I encourage Bostonians to utilize this great resource and learn more about the free services our library system offers,” said Mayor Martin J. Walsh. (more…)

Central Library Renovation Profiles: Sydney Thiel, Major Projects Coordinator

Posted on April 10th, 2015 by admin in General

Sydney provides a behind-the-scenes look at the Central Library’s Johnson Level 2 renovation that opened in February 2015 and looks ahead to the ongoing renovations, set to open summer 2016.

Sydney ThielWhat is your role in the Central Library renovation?

As Major Projects Coordinator, my job is to understand and collect information about the vision and goals for the renovation and ensure that the design elements of the space incorporate and meet those objectives. I also am heavily involved in the supplemental design projects of the renovation. For the Johnson Level 2 renovation, for instance, I oversaw the fabrication and installation of the Children’s Library StoryScape area, lion cubs, early literacy sensory wall, bookbirds, and the interior decoration features of Teen Central.

What was one of your goals for the Johnson Level 2 renovation?

One of my main goals with the second floor renovation – and for the upcoming phase 2 of the renovation – was to ensure that the finished project met the library’s aspirations and vision. On a personal level, when working on the Children’s Library, my goal was to create a space I could picture my four-year-old daughter using and enjoying. It was very rewarding to be able to show her the new Children’s Library and see her reaction. She loves it.

What is your favorite thing about the Johnson Level 2 renovation?

I enjoy the liveliness of the space. It is much more uplifting and vibrant than it used to be, and it is now a destination in Boston. It is a place where visitors can partake of everything the library has to offer.

What has most surprised you about the public’s reaction to the renovations?

I am surprised by how much buzz there has been around the renovation in the Boston community. I was recently walking in Jamaica Plain when I overheard two people talking about how amazing the renovation is and how people need to see it. As a civic project, the renovation is meant to benefit the public, so it is very rewarding to know that it resonates with the people it is intended to serve.

What are you most looking forward to about working on the next phase of the renovation?

I am eager to start exploring how we can keep phase one and phase two of the renovation consistent with one another through design elements such as colors and finishes. I am also interested in looking into how we can further visually connect the McKim building with the Johnson building. Instead of two distinct buildings, I hope that after the renovation is complete the McKim and Johnson buildings will feel more open to one another and reflect that they are both part of the same Central Library. I am also looking forward to seeing the streetscape outside the Johnson building transformed through landscaping. Once trees and seating are added, the library will extend its presence outside its walls.

BPL Celebrates Central Library Renovation: Opening of Johnson Building Second Floor

Posted on February 24th, 2015 by admin in General

The ribbon cutting for the renovated second floor of the Johnson building took place this past Saturday, February 21, as Mayor Walsh, President Ryan, and  library users celebrated the completion of the first phase of the Central Library Renovation. The new second floor features a new children’s library, teen area, nonfiction collection, reference services, and a community reading area. A key feature in the Children’s Library is an early literacy area for the youngest learners, with a sensory learning wall intended to help children explore the world around them as they grow. In addition to collections for learners of all ages, other features include a story time space, technology and computer area, and a tween nook. Teen Central offers a media room, digital lab, diner-style booths for group work, quiet study space, and of course, teen collections. More than 3,500 visits to the children and teen rooms took place on opening weekend. Phase two of the renovation, to be complete in the summer of 2016, includes improvements to the exterior, first floor, mezzanine, and lower level. Follow project progress via the Compass blog.

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