Strategic Planning

The BPL Compass

Johnson Building Improvement Project: Input Received

by Gina Perille

Earlier this spring, the library hosted a public program and put out display boards in the Johnson Building in order to collect comments and suggestions during the planning phase of the Johnson Building Improvement Project. The display boards featured a set of four questions, one of which was, “How might the library make the Johnson Building more attractive and inviting?”  Library staff, users, and visitors wrote directly onto the blank sheets of paper posted and also attached sticky notes with their ideas. The word cloud below illustrates the range of content collected. The cloud gives greater prominence to the words that were used more frequently. Many people expressed an interest in seeing books sooner or closer to the entrance as well as the need for new carpeting or updated flooring. The heating and cooling of the building were mentioned as needing better regulation along with improved lighting, repainted ceilings, and better use of windows and natural light. In terms of specific spaces, the children’s room and the bathrooms were specifically mentioned as areas needing improvement.

Word cloud based on the question "How might the library make this building, the Johnson building, more attractive and inviting?"

Word cloud based on the question “How might the library make this building, the Johnson Building, more attractive and inviting?”

Another question posed was, “What areas or services in the library seem underutilized when you visit? What areas might need some updating?” In response to this question, there were three replies that quickly rose to the top in terms of amount of mentions:

  1. restrooms need updating
  2. convenient place to read magazines and newspapers
  3. additional outlets for charging and using devices.

Thank you to all who have already contributed their ideas. All the comments collected have been shared with the library staff team working on the Johnson Improvement Project as well as the architect team. Please feel free to add more comments directly on this blog, send an email to with your thoughts, or send a letter to Boston Public Library, 700 Boylston Street, Boston MA 02116.


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