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Posts Tagged ‘Access and Innovation’

Meet Gregor Smart, Electronic Resources Specialist

Posted on January 6th, 2015 by admin in General

IMG_5369What do you enjoy about working for the BPL?
The Kirstein Business Library has been providing business and company research information since 1930. Our patrons come to us with dreams, whether it’s to start a business, a new career, or they have a desire to reach their financial goals for retirement. I love being a part of helping them reach those dreams by showing them the research tools to get them there. And, these resources are free.

What are some of the most popular electronic resources people use?
Our AtoZdatabases resource contains profiles on over 30,000,000 companies. This resource helps those looking to start a business find competitors, research a given industry, and create targeted mailing lists. Our Career Transitions database is a very popular resource for our job seekers. It offers a resume wizard and gives tips and advice for job searching. For those who need help researching stocks and mutual funds, the Morningstar Investment Research Center is a great resource. You can screen for funds, look at analyst ratings or download their investing newsletters. Small business guidance, employment searching, and personal finance research are some of the most popular kinds of assistance we provide.

How does technology enhance library service?
Technology makes our resources much more accessible to people. Now people can access many of our directories online without having to visit us in person or having to wait for someone to return the printed version. There are so many ways to access the data — via tablets or phones, and much more.

How do you assist users in using digital services?
I do a lot of one-on-one support – if someone wants to start a business, I can help with their market research, find similar businesses, or point them to various associations that might be beneficial. I have also taught a variety of technology workshops such as conducting an online job search, creating a budget, resources for researching stocks and mutual funds, and how to build a web page.

What electronic resources do you use?
I love using our Ancestry Library Edition resource for genealogy. It’s been fun to find out more about where my grandparents worked and lived. It is also a helpful resource if you want to look at historical Massachusetts city directories.

Meet Laura Barkema, Reader and Information Librarian

Posted on December 12th, 2014 by admin in General

IMG_5306Laura Barkema works in the Reference and Reader’s Advisory department at the Central Library in Copley Square, assisting patrons with a variety of needs from research to helping users with their devices.

Why do you enjoy working for the BPL?

I enjoy explaining to library users that our services our free, because a lot of people do not realize that. The excitement people show when they realize this is great. Through teaching classes, I also see how appreciative people are to learn about the Internet and gaining computer skills.

How do you assist users in using digital services?

I’ve taught classes that give overviews of e-books and drop-in sessions for people with devices that need assistance. I also help users frequently at the reference desk with any of our digital services, such as our digital magazines, the mobile app, or streaming media. I like being a go-to person if someone has a question on how to navigate one of our digital services step-by-step.

How does technology enhance library service?

In a digital world, it’s important that our library services are up to date. The technology opens up our services to a new population of users; people who live anywhere in the state are able to get an e-card and access our digital resources. If a print copy of a book is not available, I might suggest the e-book version, and many people are open to learning.

What is an area of your job that some people may not know about?

In addition to reference, we also help users with our Reader’s Advisory service. I like giving book recommendations to people and giving them some options, and I hope to do more of that when the New Books area opens on the first floor of the Johnson building.  The other day I helped a patron who was looking for a David McCullough book. We didn’t have it in, but I knew she was interested in history and biographies, and I found a popular presidential biography for her and a few other recommendations — she was very happy.

Meet Paul Cho, Special Library Assistant

Posted on November 17th, 2014 by admin in General

IMG_4568Paul Cho works with library users at the Honan-Allston Branch of the Boston Public Library. He has worked at the library for more than 25 years; working at the Charlestown Branch and the Central Library previously. His work supports the Community Gathering principle of the Compass Strategic plan through linking community members with to library programs and services within and beyond the BPL system.

Why do you enjoy working for the BPL?

All staff have the opportunity to increase their work knowledge through trainings provided. Working for the library is a very rewarding experience; I get a lot of satisfaction in helping patrons achieve their goals.

How do you assist users in using digital services?

I explain all of the options they have for using a certain service, such as the streaming media service hoopla. You don’t have to worry about expiration dates, patrons can browse music or TV shows, and hoopla is compatible  with a number of devices. I love using hoopla for music and it is very popular with users as well. I also let patrons know we have Zinio, a digital magazine service. People are surprised to know they can check out an unlimited number of magazines. We  have a lot of electronic databases that users may not know about that I also promote.

How does technology enhance library service?

It helps bring people in to the library. A lot of people in the Allston-Brighton neighborhood come in to use the computers, check out DVDs, or browse the online catalog. It’s very easy for the patron to find information in today’s world.

What is an aspect of your role that people may not know about?

I am able to assist people who speak languages other than English; I am fluent in Mandarin and Cantonese Chinese.

Updated Technology Offerings at Boston Public Library Locations Citywide

Posted on November 7th, 2014 by admin in Media Releases

Pay-for-print Kiosks, Printers and Scanners, Software Upgrades Arriveanna

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. (more…)

Meet Jazmin Idakaar, Generalist Librarian

Posted on October 31st, 2014 by admin in General

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.