Strategic Planning

The BPL Compass

First Floor Programs: Johnson Building Improvement Project

by Mary Frances O'Brien

A guiding principle of the Johnson Building first floor planning is making key services more visible and easily accessible. As noted previously, removing the granite walls from the entrance lobby will open sightlines to larger portions of the first floor. Borrower Services, including card registration and circulation services, will no longer be hidden within an alcove, but in immediate sight of those entering either through the front door of the Johnson building or arriving from McKim.


 Not only will the public have more convenient access from the front door, but the staff workspace will include a new layout to make circulation and shipping access more efficient. A large part of Boston Public Library collections travel from branch to branch to respond to user requests. All of these books and DVD’s pass through the Library’s Loading Dock as they are borrowed and returned. Instead of crossing a busy public hall way, the books will be moved through doorways directly to the loading dock. The Loading Dock will be upgraded to improve workflow and the conditions in the area.
Adjacent to Borrower Services is a redesigned section for Movies and Music. Audio/visual media such as CDs and DVDs is the most popular collection at the BPL, accounting for about 40% of all circulation. This collection is expected to grow and shelving will be selected to allow for both display and high density arrangements.

Movies and Music

Tech Central is the most highly used area in the Central Library. It is one of the Library’s most important programs to address the digital divide and provide computer access and computer help to those who do not have personal computers. The Johnson Building Improvement Project plan has designated a larger area for services and will be expanding the number of computers available to the public. In addition to the current computer work stations, the area will include bar seating with power outlets for people with laptops and other mobile devices along the length of the Exeter Street window.


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