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A Tuesday in the Children’s Library

Posted on October 19th, 2015 by BPL News in General

No two days of the week are alike at the Central Library in Copley Square’s new Children’s Library. With an early literacy area ToddleTown, a StoryScape space for reading and imaginative play, an area just for tweens, and a wide range of offered programs, kids of all ages and interests are sure to find an activity to enjoy at the Children’s Library.

IMG_7430Tuesdays in the Children’s Library begin with Tinker Tots at 10:30 a.m. The program is aimed at young children and explores a STEM concept through stories and activities. The theme for the October 6 Tinker Tots is “fall.” Toddlers and their caregivers gather in the StoryScape area, where Children’s Librarian Laura Koenig reads autumn-themed picture books and leads the group in interactive seasonal songs. Participants then move to the sunny and spacious Margret and H. A. Rey Program Room to explore various fall-focused exploration stations, including a leaf-print craft, a sensory box of nature items including acorns and pine cones, and a table with magnifying glasses for examining leaves.

IMG_7433Next on the schedule is LEGO Club in the Rey Program Room at 3:30 p.m. LEGOs of all shapes, sizes, and colors are on hand to encourage young children supervised by caregivers to build, create, and interact with one another. One young girl shows Early Literacy Librarian Theresa Furbish the flying machine she made, and a little boy works on building a boat. DUPLO bricks are also available for the youngest participants.

At 5 p.m., Children’s Librarian Maggie Levine leads Tween Tuesdays, a club in which tweens (kids ages 9-13) work on projects using the technology available in Teen Central’s digital lab and participate in art- and writing-focused activities, among others. On this Tuesday, the kids continue work on a commercial promoting all the benefits of the Boston Public Library. They review the previous week’s footage and then pick which scenes they still need to shoot. They will eventually use software in Teen Central’s Lab to edit the footage together to create the final product. Club member David, age 10, says that his favorite thing about Tween Tuesdays is “doing all the cool stuff with technology.”

“With such a wide variety of programs and visitors, every day in the Children’s Library is a new adventure. The staff here loves helping children and caregivers IMG_05460explore this exciting space, choose their next great read, and enjoy our many programs. This is a special place, and it’s an honor to share it with children from Boston and beyond,” says Laura Koenig, Team Leader of Central Library Children’s Services.

In August, over 3,900 children attended programs in the Children’s Library, including story times, arts and crafts, music events, and book-themed parties. In between programs, the Children’s Library buzzes with children exploring the early literacy area’s interactive sensory wall featuring visual, auditory, and tactile panels; reading and playing in the StoryScape space; using the computers in the tween area; and browsing books, audiobooks, and DVDs to check out and take home.

For Children’s Library hours, visit, and find the full schedule of programs via

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.

Boston Public Library Wins Industry Award for Pathway to Reading Sensory Wall

Posted on July 20th, 2015 by admin in Media Releases

Urban Library Council’s Innovations Celebration Recognizes Early Learning at the Central Library in Copley Square

Desktop225In recognition of the Central Library’s new Pathway to Reading Sensory Wall, the Boston Public Library received an honorable mention Innovation Award from the Urban Libraries Council (ULC). The wall is an interactive feature in the early literacy area of the newly renovated Children’s Library in Copley Square, designed for children under three and youth who have challenges processing sensory information. The ULC Innovations Initiative recognizes libraries that are dramatically enhancing outcomes with their innovative programs, services, and operations.

“Boston Public Library is honored to receive this award and is extremely grateful to the Urban Libraries Council. We are committed to serving our youngest users and providing early developmental opportunities that foster a love of learning, and it begins with this interactive wall at the Central Library,” said David Leonard, Interim President of the Boston Public Library. (more…)

July Literary Events at Boston Public Library Locations

Posted on July 1st, 2015 by admin in Media Releases

Desktop219Central Library and six branches to host

Boston Public Library locations host a variety of author talks for people of all ages this month. Highlights include Revolutionary War-themed talks, children’s story times, Emmy-award winning Cokie Roberts, and more:

  • Author and illustrator Matt Tavares visits six locations in July, speaking about his book Growing Up Pedro and facilitating a drawing session for ages 7 and up.
  • Rosana Y. Wan discusses The Culinary Lives of John & Abigail Adams: A Cookbook on Monday, July 6, at 6:30 p.m. at the West Roxbury Branch, located at 1961 Centre Street. Part of the BPL’s Revolutionary War initiative, which marks the 250th anniversary of the Stamp Act crisis.
  • South End author Irene Smalls reads from her books, tells stories, and shows children, parents, and caregivers how to combine reading with healthy exercise on Wednesday, July 8, at 10:30 a.m. at the South End Branch, located at 685 Tremont Street.
  • Alan R. Hoffman, the translator of Lafayette in America in 1824 and 1825: A Firsthand Account of Lafayette’s Farewell Tour of America, brings expert insight into the Marquis and his farewell tour of America on the same week as the historic arrival of the replica of Lafayette’s frigate Hermione to Boston Harbor. Thursday, July 9, at 6 p.m. in the Commonwealth Salon at the Central Library in Copley Square, located at 700 Boylston Street. Part of the BPL’s Revolutionary War initiative, which marks the 250th anniversary of the Stamp Act crisis, and the Local & Family History Series, which shares information about the history of Boston and its diverse neighborhoods.
  • South End resident Alison Barnet shares her collection of columns from South End News about the people and places in her neighborhood on Thursday, July 9, at 2 p.m. in the Commonwealth Salon at the Central Library in Copley Square, located at 700 Boylston Street. Part of the Never Too Late Series, one of the country’s oldest, continuously running groups for seniors.
  • Local children’s author Carla Marrero reads from her books and leads the audience in a craft during Family Night Story Time on Tuesday, July 14, at 6:30 p.m. at the South End Branch, located at 685 Tremont Street.
  • Frances Driscoll, author of The Swan Boat Ride, takes children back in time as she remembers when her grandmother took her for a ride on the swan boats in the Boston Public Garden. Monday, July 20, at 1 p.m. at the South End Branch, located at 685 Tremont Street.
  • Cokie Roberts details her books Founding Mothers, Ladies of Liberty, and Capital Dames: The Civil War and the Women of Washington on Tuesday, July 21, at 6 p.m. in the Abbey Room at the Central Library in Copley Square, located at 700 Boylston Street. Part of the2015 Lowell Lecture Series, which explores social, political, cultural, and economic themes related to the American Revolutionary War era.
  • Dina Vargo brings to light the remarkable stories of audacious reformers, socialites, and criminals who made Boston what it is today in Wild Women of Boston: Mettle and Moxie in the Hub on Thursday, July 23, at 2 p.m. in the Commonwealth Salon at the Central Library in Copley Square, located at 700 Boylston Street. Part of the Never Too Late Series, one of the country’s oldest, continuously running groups for seniors.


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.