Connecting Communities

The BPL Central Library and its 25 branches are conveners of people, resources, and ideas. In our current pandemic world, we have seen Library staff go above and beyond to keep patrons connected. Whether it be group learning with ESL classes and early literacy storytimes that have gone entirely online, or programs that enable patrons to stay connected with our internet hotspot lending program, the BPL has been here for everyone.

Check out a few stories from BPL patrons and Library staff in their own words on how they’re staying connected thanks to the robust offerings and accommodating staff throughout the BPL system:

The Charlestown Children’s Library has had a special connection to the owner of the Essem Art Studio, Sophia Moon, who, in the early days of the pandemic handed out art supplies to children. The Charlestown Branch collaborated with Essem Art Studio to bring a fun Story + Art series. It kicked off on June 23, and for six weeks, each Tuesday at 11 a.m. with a story book and art project (ages 2–28 but open to all) was published to Facebook and Instagram and art supplies were available to the community for pick up. In December the library handed out 192 gingerbread kits to patrons, the Kennedy Center and the Boys and Girls Club.

Eileen Whittle, Charlestown Children’s Librarian

“During the pandemic, I’ve missed going to the Library’s main branch in Copley Square — from relaxing in the beautiful courtyard to attending author readings. I was so happy when the Library announced the BPL “to go” service. Since this service began, I’ve been picking up a handful of new books weekly and spend time reading every day. Thank you, BPL!”

— BPL Patron

“Working on the Tools for Tiny Hands program through the Linking with Libraries partnership with Boston Children’s Museum has been an extremely gratifying part of my work during COVID. Tools for Tiny Hands was designed by the Boston Children’s Museum as a pivot initiative to continue responding to the needs of families during the pandemic, especially around school readiness. I’ve been joining colleagues from the South Boston Neighborhood House to hold a playgroup for families with young children using the Tools for Tiny Hands resources. We gather weekly to read stories, sing songs, and share activities that build fine motor skills. The project has enabled me to connect with colleagues who are doing amazing work to support families and to connect directly with the families themselves, even when it’s tough to do so. It’s been wonderful to hear from kids over Zoom and see their creativity and their accomplishments firsthand.”

Dani Crickman, Children’s Librarian, South Boston Branch

Prior to the pandemic, I used to visit the West Roxbury branch to use on the computers. I was so excited to see that home access was made available during this time, allowing me to continue my genealogy project, a great way to feel more rooted and grounded during these times. In addition, the genealogy website of the BPL has many more resources and is even offering a virtual seminar on this topic next week!

— BPL Patron, West Roxbury Branch

ESL courses have enriched my English skills and Mandarin classes build up my mastering of Chinese language. I got fruitful results from the Boston Public Library systems. Thank you a lot.  I sincerely appreciate the hard working efforts of the staff in BPL system. Continue your endearing work.

— Ngon Szeto , Chinatown Branch Patron

During this period of quarantine, there have been many things we’ve all had to adjust to. I’m so glad that the BPL online resources have been available to make me feel closer to ‘normal.’ Thank you to all of the library staff members at JP library who are making in person pick up possible.

— BPL Patron, Jamaica Plain Branch
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