Boston Public Library
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Posts Tagged ‘Access and Innovation’

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.

Meet Monica Shin, Digital Projects Librarian

Posted on October 10th, 2014 by admin in General

Monica ShinAs a digital projects librarian, Monica identifies and links digital images to information that makes them more searchable in a digital setting, which supports the Access and Innovation principle of the Compass strategic plan that focuses on the library leading in digitization practices. She works to catalog the more than 95,000 images on the BPL’s Flickr site for all users to enjoy.

Do you have a favorite collection on Flickr?

We work with many collections, but I’d say my favorite is a collection by Leslie Jones, which has about 30,000 images. His sports photography from the 1930s and 1940s is amazing, and the collection itself is an archive of life as it was happening during that time period. He also gave many personal photos, which show his family on vacation, for example, and others that are beautifully created from a photography perspective.

What is the best part about working for the library?

I enjoy working with and digitizing older items from our collection that haven’t seen the light of day in a long time; whether they are in the stacks or parts of the library that the general public doesn’t get to see very often. We pull out things that our colleague curators find interesting and then get to expose them to the world, which is awesome. It helps cement the BPL presence as a research library and one that shares its treasures with everyone.

 How do you interact with library users interested in the Flickr collection?

Flickr users can leave comments on pages or email the library with questions or potential corrections to descriptions. Our team acts as the mediator between the library user and our curators, who look into the subject matter closely. We also encourage library users to make recommendations on collections for digitization. The best email to to use is digital@bpl.org.

How does technology and digital offerings enhance service to library users?

Researchers who are interested in certain collections may or may not have the chance to physically come to the library. We recently put up 3,000+ stereographs on Flickr, which could be of great use to someone researching the subject. Showing the digital images with good data really helps people understand the breadth our collections. And, it might persuade people to come in and visit. Having a digital presence is important because the library is so much more than just books; posters, architectural drawings, and manuscripts are just a few examples.

Meet Helen Bender, West End Branch Librarian

Posted on September 23rd, 2014 by admin in General

Helen’s role in educating library users on electronic resources, particularly e-readers, supports the library’s  Access and Innovation principle of the Compass strategic plan through keeping pace with evolving standards in technology and improving patrons’ ease-of-use with these services.

Helen Bender2

Why do you enjoy the e-reader?

It’s a great alternative format to a print book. I was an early adopter of e-readers and have owned a Kindle for years. I’ve read close to 200 books in 2014 on my Kindle and in print combined.

What services do you offer for people who need assistance with e-readers?

The West End Branch initiated drop-in sessions early on when e-readers became available. Around the holidays, and especially when more and more devices came out, we would hold larger device sessions and then offer  one-on-one help if needed. Assisting library users with their e-readers is a big priority at this branch and we can usually get someone in within a few days of a request. Our library staff also heavily promotes hoopla, our streaming media service, and digital magazine service Zinio. We find a lot of our users are interested in reading things such as The Economist and don’t know they can read it in a digital format.

What is the best part about working for the library?

I love helping people; it’s my favorite thing to do. Even when I worked in the Inter Library Loan department, there was a public service component to it that I found really enjoyable. I like finding obscure things that people are looking for and delivering them.

How does technology and digital offerings enhance service to library users?

They help a great deal; and certainly enhance service but don’t take away from circulation or library use. A lot of patrons do not have access to computers or tablets and library staff can provide a great introduction to these resources.

What Type of Library User Are You?

Posted on September 17th, 2014 by admin in General

The Pew Research Center has focused some of their work on studying on the internet, technology, and libraries recently, particularly in relation to library users’ habits, engagement, and experiences. Below are just a few highlights from their research:

  • 72% of all Americans ages 16 and older have either used a public library (in person or via website) in the past 12 months or live in a household where another family member or a child is an active recent user of the library.
  • 80% of Americans under age 30 say that librarians are a “very important” resource for libraries to have.
  • Almost one in five (18%) Americans ages 16-29 have used a mobile device to visit a public library’s website or access library resources in the past 12 months, compared with 12% of those ages 30 and older.
  • 71% of city dwellers say the library is important to them and 59% have library cards — and 69% of suburban residents say the library is important and 61% have library cards.
  • Family and friends are the primary source of book discovery for Americans 16 and older, especially so for suburban (66%) and urban residents (66%). Some 60% of rural residents say they get book recommendations from family and friends. Similarly, city dwellers (25%) and suburbanites (24%) are more likely than rural residents (18%) to have received recommendations from book stores they visit. Residents of all three kinds of communities are equally likely to say librarians and library websites are sources of book recommendations.

research

To see more of Pew’s research, visit pewresearch.org/topics/libraries/. To learn how to sign-up for a Boston Public Library card, visit bit.ly/BPLgetcarded. September is national library card sign-up month. Anyone who lives, works, or goes to school in Massachusetts can have a Boston Public Library card.

Boston Public Library Celebrates National Library Card Sign-up Month

Posted on August 28th, 2014 by admin in Media Releases

Cardholders gain instant access to a world of free resourcescarded

Boston Public Library celebrates Library Card Sign-up Month in September, a time when libraries across the country remind children, teens, and adults about the power of their library card.

“Our libraries are invaluable resources for community members and play a critical role in furthering the education of our residents,” said Mayor Martin J. Walsh. “I encourage Bostonians to take advantage of the free services the library system provides and sign up for a card.”

Sign up for a Boston Public Library card can be done in person at Boston Public Library locations across the city with a photo ID and proof of current residence. For immediate access to the library’s digital resources, many people start with a Boston Public Library e-card via www.bpl.org/ecard. An e-card opens the door to free e-books and audiobooks; streaming music, television, and video; digital magazines, online language learning programs, career resources, and more. (more…)