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Posts Tagged ‘Children and Teens’

Mayor Walsh Celebrates Groundbreaking on Renovations to Jamaica Plain Branch of the Boston Public Library

Posted on September 25th, 2015 by BPL News in Media Releases

Today Mayor Martin J. Walsh, the Boston Public Library and its Board of Trustees, the City of Boston’s Property and Construction Management Department, and the Jamaica Plain community, celebrated a groundbreaking for a major renovation project for the Jamaica Plain Branch of the Boston Public Library located at 12 Sedgwick Street. The renovations to the building, constructed in 1911, will provide more than a 20% increase in space for the community to read, browse the book collection, access computers, attend and host meetings, and participate in programming.

“Libraries are at the heart of every Boston neighborhood, and the Jamaica Plain community is passionate about their community,” said Mayor Walsh. “This investment in the Jamaica Plain Branch of the Boston Public Library will provide new opportunities for learning to children, teens, and adults, and serve as a meeting place for neighbors.”

“Investing in our neighborhood libraries, and expanding learning and opportunity to all corners of the City, is core to the Boston Public Library’s mission,” said John Hailer, Interim Chair of the Boston Public Library Board of Trustees. “Thank you to Mayor Walsh for making this commitment to the Jamaica Plain Branch, and I look forward to gathering here again for the ribbon cutting.”

“The JP community has been advocating for these renovations for many years. Thanks to a great collaboration between neighbors, City Hall, and the BPL, this project is moving forward, and the new features of the Jamaica Plain Branch will be truly reflective of the needs of this diverse community,” said David Leonard, Interim President of the Boston Public Library.

The $10 million renovation includes: a 700-square foot addition facing South Street that will serve as a community reading lounge; a terrace along Sedgwick street where residents can read and mingle; multiple meeting spaces; improved and more flexible space for children, teens and adults; and a refreshed collection of 30,000 books. Technology improvements include 15 new desktop and 20 laptop computers, free WiFi, additional self-checkout stations, and a creative suite of software in the new digital maker-space. Other features include an elevator for full ADA accessibility to all levels, new and more efficient mechanical systems, parking for over 20 bikes, and new exterior landscaping.

To determine priorities in the building redesign, the Boston Public Library, the City of Boston’s Property and Construction Management team, and Utile, Inc. Architecture & Planning, the design firm for the project, collaborated closely with the Friends of the Jamaica Plain Branch Library and the community at-large. The general contractor for the project is Colantonio, Inc.

The Jamaica Plain Branch of the BPL will be closed throughout the renovation and is anticipated to re-open in spring 2017. During the construction Jamaica Plain residents are encouraged to use the nearby Connolly Branch of the BPL located at 433 Centre St, and the Egleston Square Branch of the BPL, located at 2044 Columbus Avenue.

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


Central Library Renovation Profiles: Angie Ortiz, Teen Central’s 2015 Summer Intern

Posted on August 26th, 2015 by BPL News in General

IMG_6614Angie Ortiz, 18, is a recent graduate of Boston Arts Academy. This summer she worked as Teen Central’s Boston Youth Fund Summer Intern. Here, she reflects on her experience.

What was your role at Teen Central?

As Teen Central’s BYF Summer Intern, I assisted with classes in the digital lab. I really liked to help with animation and iMovie programs and to show teens how to make storybooks for animation or trailers. It was cool for me to see them apply what they learned into something that they enjoyed making. I also assisted with shelving and pulling books, and I blogged about video games. I also helped with expanding our technology and media lounge. For instance, I had teens vote on what games they’d like to see added to our game collection.

IMG_05460How long have you been visiting Teen Central?

I’ve been coming to the Boston Public Library for a long time with my mom.* I’d hang out in the Teen Room before it was renovated. When I got a little older, I stopped coming, but when I heard about the renovations I had to come back to see what it was like. I thought Teen Central was so cool, and I wanted to work there. I was president and founder of my high school’s gamers club, and when I saw all the awesome resources in Teen Central’s Lounge, I brought the club there for our meetings. They really liked it, and a lot of the kids started hanging out in Teen Central on their own.

When you weren’t working, what did you like to do in Teen Central?

I liked to hang out in the Lounge, but I also liked to use the programs in the Lab. I used Photoshop to illustrate, paint, and animate GIFs. I met with friends here, and we played board games and card games. I also checked out books here.

How does this renovation benefit you and other teens?

It’s a friendly, expansive space that is welcoming to teenagers. It’s a safe space. The librarians are very helpful, and always have been. One of my favorite parts of the renovation is the addition of technology. That’s a big deal, as most occupations now require computer knowledge. There are still some teens who don’t know how to use computers, and a library is a great space for them to learn how to do that.

IMG_005536What are your plans now that you’ve graduated high school?

I’ll be attending Lesley University on a full scholarship to study animation in the fall. I want to go into game animation. There’s a huge gap of women in the video game industry, and I want to create more female protagonists and stronger representation for women in games.

What books would you recommend to other teens?

The Blood of Olympus by Rick Riordan. It’s part of the Heroes of Olympus series, a sequel to the Percy Jackson novels that I read when I was young. The books are about a boy who doesn’t fit in at school but found a place where he belonged and was a hero. I was having a hard time at school, and the Percy Jackson books inspired me to go to Boston Arts Academy, where I founded the gamers club and made a lot of friends. The main characters are funny, regular teens, too.

*Angie’s mom is BPL Board of Trustees Vice Chair Evelyn Arana-Ortiz.

Central Library Renovation Profiles: Daniel and Dana van Ee, Children’s Library Users

Posted on May 15th, 2015 by BPL News in General

Daniel and DanaFour-year-old Daniel and his mother Dana, originally from Liberia and now living in the Back Bay, are frequent visitors to the renovated Children’s Library.

What do you like about the Children’s Library? 

Dana: I love everything about it, from the natural light to the colors to the layout and design of the different areas. I like that we can move from playing with puppets to using computers to activities in the program room. There are separate areas for each age group, but the children are not restricted to those areas; I see older children in ToddleTown using the sensory wall to teach the younger ones about magnets or sounds, which is part of the learning process. I also appreciate how all the book shelves are at the kids’ eye-level. This is a magnificent example of what a children’s library can and should be.

Daniel: I like the puppets and the dress up clothes. My favorite puppets are the police officer and the doctor. I like to play builder with the construction outfit. I like how Miss Maggie and Miss Maija and Miss Laura and Miss May talk to us. And I like the computers here. I play soccer and Humpty Dumpty games on the computer. And I do puzzles and play with Mr. Bones on the computer who teaches you about inside your body.

What activities and programs do you like to attend in the Children’s Library?

Dana: We come to the Children’s Library about three times a week. All the librarians put such time and care into fine-tuning beautiful programs for children. We recently attended a wonderful presentation about Georgia O’Keeffe, where afterwards the children made 3D flowers and plants with craft materials. The Museum of Science also visited with a great program about the science behind magic tricks.

Daniel: I like coloring and painting. I made a colorful mask and do many projects. I like to make airplanes and cars with Legos. Sometimes I play with other kids and sometimes I play alone. I met my friend Gwyneth here. The Museum of Science showed us how to make a water balloon pop, and the water popped everywhere. I love the library. The library is awesome!

How does this renovation benefit children?

Dana: The Children’s Library is very welcoming. The open layout of the room means that caregivers and parents can watch their children but give them freedom to roam and explore. I find that many people of different backgrounds and from different Boston neighborhoods all frequent the Children’s Library. It’s a place where children of Boston and the world can learn and grow.

What are your favorite things to borrow from the library?

Dana: We love to check out books and audiobooks. We read together every night. Listening to audiobooks is something we can do together or Daniel can do independently.

What books would you recommend to other kids?

Daniel: The Velveteen Rabbit; We’re Going on a Bear Hunt; Guess How Much I Love You.

Dana: I Can Read with My Eyes Shut! by Dr. Seuss is a great life lesson book, and Martha Ann’s Quilt for Queen Victoria by Kyra E. Hicks is a true story about Liberia, England, and perseverance.

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

Posted on April 30th, 2015 by BPL News 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.

Renovated Second Floor Media Coverage

Posted on April 8th, 2015 by admin in General

Enjoy the clips and stories below about the Central Library Renovation and the corresponding opening of the new second floor:

• The Bay State Banner:
Boston Business Journal:
Boston Magazine:
Boston Neighborhood Network News:
Don’t Mind the Mess blog:
The Huntington News:
Suffolk Journal:

 Renovation photos