BPL Changes are Coming

June 21, 2012

Mayor Thomas Menino revealed two weeks ago that dramatic changes will be coming to the Boylston Street side entrance of the Boston Public Library as part of the city’s overall capital improvement program.

The library is apparently set to make much better use of a large amount of empty open space in what is referred to as the new edition to the main library which was put up some 30 years ago.

Most library users and even those who transit this part of Boylston Street everyday would agree – that’s an awfully large and empty entryway.

City designers have come up with a plan – and the mayor has endorsed it – which will bring to life in a big way this otherwise barren area.

What is being proposed, we are told, is a complete redoing of the space leading into the library with retail outlets being planned in a cluster by the empty entranceway.

This is actually a stroke of brilliance intended to bring much more positive activity to the main library.

With coffee shops and cafes and other such retail stores, this side entrance to the library would brim with new energy and a new reason to exist. Such a development would brings more people into the library.

By itself, the McKim Building is a masterpiece but everything about running a big city public library system is changing rather dramatically.

The Internet age upon us is changing our habits about what we read as well as how we read. There are many social commentators who believe libraries are being made irrelevant.

The Boston Public Library is hardly irrelevant.

Developing the Boylston Street entrance to the library is a great way to bring thousands to mingle there, to tour the library and to use it for what it is – one of the greatest repositories of art, culture and information on the face of the earth.

The Internet hasn’t diminished this. It has enhanced it.

We congratulate the city planners who have drawn up these spectacular plans to reinvigorate what is now an empty entrance to the Boston Public Library.

This is a bit of nice work that is rather well thought out.

And while we’re on the topic, it might make sense for the city to consider making changes at other popular branch libraries across the city in order to maximize space and to draw new interest to our public libraries during a time when they are in an extraordinary moment of  dramatic change.

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