Strategic Planning

The BPL Compass

Public Program on the Johnson Building: Wednesday, April 10, at 6 p.m.

by Gina Perille

Boston Public Library will host a public program on Wednesday, April 10, at 6 p.m. to update library users and interested residents on the early phases of the Johnson Building Improvement Project. The program will take place Johnson Exteriorin Rabb Lecture Hall, located on the concourse level of the Johnson Building at 700 Boylston Street. Amy E. Ryan, president of Boston Public Library; Michael R. Colford, director of library services; and architect William L. Rawn will lead the April 10 program.

The Johnson Building, which opened in 1972, is the portion of the Central Library in Copley Square that is at the corner of Boylston and Exeter Streets.

Last summer, the library issued a request for proposals for help in exploring ideas on how to improve visitors’ first impression of the Johnson Building, enrich library services and spaces, and generate cost-sharing options and additional revenue.

Preliminary efforts to develop ideas for the Johnson Building began in November 2012 when a community advisory committee was formed and continued into December 2012 when the firm William Rawn Associates, Architects, Inc. was selected to lead the master planning process.

Prior to the April 10 program, Boston Public Library will mount a display in the center atrium of the Johnson Building where library users and visitors can review a floor plan of the existing layout of the building and are encouraged to provide comments and suggestions on the project. The display will remain up for the entire month of April.

Background on the Johnson Building Project to date is published throughout this blog. Those not able to attend the April 10 public program or visit the display are welcome to leave a comment on the library’s Compass blog at or send an email to “Compass” is the name of Boston Public Library’s strategic plan.

Download and share the April 10 program flyer (PDF).

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3 Responses to “Public Program on the Johnson Building: Wednesday, April 10, at 6 p.m.”

  1. Don Warner Saklad says:

    Please make available online the display in the center atrium !

  2. Don Warner Saklad says:

    Essential to our public library is setting up an onsite public bulletin board and online bulletin board with even a bit of coordinating between them. Space for community newspapers and such is needed. This all should be convenient to library users/visitors within not relegated to a marginal area of the building. Advisory notices regularly should remind contributors to the onsite bulletin board about the online bulletin board.

  3. Dan Currie says:

    I’m also sorry to say that I believe the entire April 10th presentation on the Johnson Building Project was a farce. From the moment I first heard library administrative’s lust to turn the children’s space at Copley into a retail environment, I wanted to assume that such a proposal would not publicly dare raise its head without concomitantly providing an explanation of what would then become of the kids. But during the Rabb dog and pony show, that question did not even come up. For long, I’ve tried to envision better accommodations for children at the central library, as have many I’m sure. Better than the existing ones in which they are able to enter the Johnson Building at street level under the eye of security personnel at the facility’s main public security station in order to travel a very short route around to the right under the eye of that security and into the corner of the building behind its position. It should be easy to imagine enhancing the children’s facility by expanding it to the space that the April 10th presenters would prefer to turn into another café next to their new corner store. But the matter of disposition of the kids is apparently secondary — maybe at least until today, Patriots Day 2013, when I think it might fairly be said: To hell with the BPL’s commercial motives (at least until it might master accommodating a lovely library-related gift shop like they have in Seattle). And thank God for the Philip Johnson “plinths” that might have saved many young lives today if the library had been open. … I think the BPL should try to keep it’s commercial and architectural reimaginations simple: Take down the plinths in front of the largely wasted, perfectly positioned Boston Room to turn it into your latest retail space if you can manage it. You’ve already established your café.