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Boston Public Library celebrates Central Library renovation opening

July 9, 2016

Boston Public Library

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The grand reopening marks the completion of the second and final phase of the renovation of the Central Library in Copley Square.

Mayor Martin J. Walsh and the Boston Public Library celebrated the grand reopening of the Central Library Renovation today with a 10:30 a.m. ribbon cutting. The grand reopening marks the completion of the second and final phase of the renovation of the Central Library in Copley Square, which has been managed by the City of Boston's Public Facilities Department. This second phase of work includes updates to the lower level, first floor, mezzanine, and the building exterior of the Johnson building, which opened in 1972. The Central Library Renovation puts the Boston Public Library on the cutting edge of library services - reshaping and redefining the patron experience at a 21st century urban public library.

"The reopening of the Central Library's Johnson building represents the investments we make in the future of all Boston residents, as our libraries are critical resources where residents gather to exchange and seek knowledge and information," said Mayor Walsh. "I'm grateful to all who contributed to the success of this project, and I look forward to Boston's residents and visitors enjoying the library's enhancements." 

Highlights of the second phase of the renovation include removal of the granite plinths that covered the Johnson building windows - reconnecting the building to the street; a revamped lecture hall for author talks and programming, a new innovation center, new Mac and Windows computers for the public computing area, a hi-tech community learning center, an enlarged Fiction section and new ways of book browsing, digital stacks to explore the BPL's digitized collections, a state-of-the art Welcome Center, a digital imaging suite, and major landscape components along Boylston Street, including a civic table and new trees. The enterprise retail space at the corner of Boylston and Exeter Streets will feature The Newsfeed Café, opening mid-summer and operated by The Catered Affair, and a WGBH News satellite bureau and studio. Patrons will move seamlessly between the enterprise retail space and the Library.

The public can learn more about the Johnson building's new features at and by following the BPL on Twitter (@bplboston), Facebook, and Instagram (@bplboston).

"This is one of the most significant milestones in Boston Public Library history. The Central Library Renovation has greatly expanded offerings for people of all ages , and the library has been truly transformed," said Chair of the Board of the Trustees of the Boston Public Library Robert E. Gallery.

"The goal of the renovation was to reinvent both our building and our library services as inviting, dynamic, and modern, to be responsive to twenty first century urban civic life and to strengthen the Central Library and its connection to the City," said David Leonard, President of the Boston Public Library. "We are proud to welcome everyone, from near and far, to celebrate a new era of library service in Copley Square."

"We worked closely with the Boston Public Library and the City of Boston to develop an open kind of library space - the Big Urban Room - which connects the most active library uses to the city street.  With over 210 feet of transparent frontage along Boylston Street and multiple entry points, this new space conveys a sense of welcome that captures the Boston Public Library mantra 'FREE TO ALL,'" said architects Cliff Gayley and William Rawn, principals from William Rawn Associates, Architect, Inc.

 "The Boston Public Library is a major piece of our city's distinguished history and one that continues to provide services to thousands of residents in our community every day. We're honored to have completed this beautiful renovation featuring complex engineering and design that will be enjoyed for generations to come," said Matthew Consigli, President of Consigli Construction Co., Inc.

The first phase of the renovation, which opened in February 2015, included a colorful Children's Library with books and media, early literacy and story time space, a tween corner, and flexible program space; Teen Central, a distinctive and media-friendly space with books, digital lab, media lounge, a dedicated quiet zone, and homework and hangout booths; refreshed and reorganized nonfiction collections and reference services; and an adult reading area and workspace for individuals and groups.

The Central Library Renovation project is funded by the City of Boston capital budget at $78 million. In addition to the City of Boston's Public Facilities Department, the project team includes  PMA Consultants as the Owner's Project Manager, Consigli Construction Co., Inc. is the contractor, and the project architect is William Rawn Associates, Architects, Inc.

Boston Public Library has a Central Library, twenty-four branches, map center, business library, and a website filled with digital content and services. Established in 1848, the Boston Public Library has pioneered public library service in America. It was the first large free municipal library in the United States, the first public library to lend books, the first to have a branch library, and the first to have a children's room. Each year, the Boston Public Library hosts thousands of programs and serves millions of people. All of its programs and exhibitions are free and open to the public. At the Boston Public Library, books are just the beginning. Visit us online at