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Boston Public Library launches 'BPL to Go'

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Library

As of June 22, the program will allow patrons to “order” items from the library by placing a hold on them, then safely pick them up from select branches.

Mayor Martin J. Walsh announced today that as of June 22, patrons will be able to pick up physical items such as books, DVDs, and CDs from select Boston Public Library locations. The program, called “BPL to Go,” will allow patrons to “order” items from the library by placing a hold on them, then safely pick them up from select branches. The pilot program will launch first at five locations: the Central Library in Copley Square, the Codman Square Branch, the East Boston Branch, the Jamaica Plain Branch, and the Mattapan Branch. The program will be expanded throughout the system in the coming weeks.

“In Boston, our library system has worked hard to provide the services that so many of our residents rely on, and this work has continued throughout this public health crisis,” said Mayor Walsh. “Bringing additional services back to residents is part of our phased, careful reopening process, and I look forward to residents using these important services.”

“We are so glad to return this first in-person service to our patrons, to complement the online services we have rolled out since we closed in March,” said David Leonard, BPL President.  "For several weeks, we have been planning how to safely return to in-person service; after evaluating recommendations from experts and learning from peer libraries across the country, we have a program that will allow us to place some of our collections back into circulation.” 

Patrons can place items on hold by visiting bpl.org; on the BPL mobile app; or by calling the library’s main number at 617-536-5400. When they are ready, patrons will be notified their items are ready for pickup, and will be asked to schedule a time to come to their pickup location. Patrons will not be able to pick up items before they are notified they are ready.

In the first phase of the program, items to be picked up at the Central Library will be available by entering the Johnson Building on Boylston Street, once patrons have been notified and been scheduled for pickup. At the branches, once notified and scheduled, patrons will arrive at the branch but will remain outside to call the branch phone number, posted on the door, to let staff know they have arrived.

Library staff will retrieve patrons’ items and safely deliver them to patrons. Patrons can only go to a building to pick up items they have placed on hold and will be required to wear face coverings when entering and to maintain physical distancing at all times. No other in-person services will be available during this time.

BPL has been working closely with libraries and public health specialists at the national level to determine the safest way to return physical items to circulation, and ensure physical materials remain sanitized throughout the process.

Although any fines accrued on books checked out prior to the Library’s closure have been waived until September 1, patrons will now be able to return books to locations once they open for holds pick-up or “to go” service. Return bins will be available for patrons to drop off their returns, which will be quarantined for at least 72 hours before being processed by staff and returned to circulation. All items will remain on patron accounts during the quarantine, but no late fees will be charged.

Once they have a time scheduled for pickup, patrons will be able to pick up their items from the Central Library from 11 a.m. – 6 p.m., Monday – Thursday, and from 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

At the branches, patrons can pick up their items from  2 - 6 p.m. Monday - Thursday; and from 2 - 4 p.m. Friday.

The Library expects to roll out this program in other branches throughout the system in the upcoming weeks, after ensuring a smooth process during the pilot phase.

For more information, please visit bpl.org/takeout, or download the iPhone app in the Apple App Store. Patrons can also call the main number of the Library at 617-536-5400 or email ask@bpl.org to have their questions answered.    

About the Boston Public Library

The Boston Public Library provides educational, cultural, and civic enrichment free to all through its collections, services, programs, and spaces. Established in 1848, the Boston Public Library is a pioneer of 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. 

The Boston Public Library of today encompasses the Central Library in Copley Square, which includes the newly-renovated and vibrant Johnson Building, 25 branches, the Norman B. Leventhal Map and Education Center, the Kirstein Business Library and Innovation Center, and an archival center. The Library provides access to world-class special collections of rare books, manuscripts, photographs, and prints, along with rich digital content and online services. The BPL hosts thousands of free educational programs and exhibitions, and provides free library services online and in-person to millions of people each year. To learn more, visit bpl.org.

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