October 20, 2017

Q&A with John J King, Boston Public Library’s first Playwright-in-Residence

In June, the Boston Public Library announced its first Playwright-in-Residence, John J. King. While other BPL residencies are selected in-house, said Michael Colford, director of library services, “For the Playwright-in-Residence pilot we decided to work with a small theater company in Boston to do the vetting and selection for us.” Fresh Ink Theatre is the perfect partner,” said Colford, because in addition to its focus on original works, Fresh Ink provides public readings, workshops, and other public interaction throughout the production process.

Windows on Boston | New Landmark Libraries 2016

The transformation is evident even before visitors enter. Moving down Boylston Street from Copley Square, past the side of the historic McKim Building, the façade of the Boston Public Library (BPL) no longer resembles a bunker. The massive granite slabs that once obscured the entrance are now embedded in the pavement. Through the glass, passersby can see people lining a laptop bar. It’s 10:30 on a Thursday morning, and the place is jamming.

UPDATE: BPL’s Lost Artwork Recovered Following Ryan’s Resignation

Two valuable works of art were thought to have disappeared from the print collection at Boston Public Library’s (BPL) flagship Copley Square central branch. The pieces—a Rembrandt etching, “Self Portrait with Plumed Cap and Lowered Sabre,” and a 1504 Albrecht Dürer engraving, titled “Adam and Eve”—were reported missing by then-BPL president Amy Ryan on April 15, triggering a police investigation and prompting BPL officials to take stock of internal security and collection management practices. Ryan resigned on June 3, in the wake of the resulting controversy. The following day, the missing items were located, misfiled within the print stacks. Jeffrey Rudman, chairman of the BPL board of trustees, resigned June 11. Both Ryan’s and Rudman’s resignations will be effective July 3.

Boston Public Library’s Redesign in Progress

The average age of users in the newly renovated second floor of Boston Public Library’s (BPL) Johnson Building has come down at least a decade, according to BPL President Amy Ryan, and it’s easy to see why. The goal was to create a library that is flexible and responsive to user needs. BPL’s management is serious about the principles in its strategic plan, called the Compass. “We take those eight principles very seriously. We even take fun (Principle #8) seriously…. It really is about the user, the expectations of the user of all ages.” said Amy Ryan, BPL’s CEO.

Design Institute Boston Design Challenges | Library by Design, Spring 2015

Design challenges from the Gloucester Lyceum and Sawyer Free Library, the Kingston Public Library, The Newburgh Free Library, The Springfield City Library, and Towson University.

Design for People | Library by Design, Spring 2015

Before Boston saw its first snowstorm of what would prove to be a very long winter, an enthusiastic group of architects, designers, vendors, and librarians convened at Boston Public Library’s (BPL) Central Library in Copley Square for LJ’s December 2014 Design Institute (DI). The first question of the event, posed by Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners library building consultant Lauren Stara, set the stage: “The shift to digital and changing user expectations means that even buildings only ten or 20 years old may already be out-of-date…. How do we build for an ever-changing ­environment?”

Boston Libraries, Archives Commemorate Marathon Attack

One year after the tragic Boston Marathon bombings, the city’s libraries and cultural institutions are helping to preserve this painful moment in recent history and helping local residents reflect. Eight libraries and archives, as part of the #BostonBetter consortium, hosted events and exhibits or opened special hours in recognition of the anniversary. Others began working almost immediately after last year’s Marathon to preserve the memories and associated artifacts of the people who experienced the bombings.

Boston Public Library Studies Adding Retail to Main Branch

The Boston Public Library (BPL) is considering adding a retail store to its main branch. BPL spokesperson Mary Bender told LJ that the Boston city council had authorized the library to spend $600,000 for a feasibility study in fiscal year 2013, which began July 1. “We are open to thinking about retail options. That’s the […]