Lifestyle

The Boston Public Library’s Copley branch is getting a makeover

The Boston Public Library was the first public library to have a reading room designed specifically for children.
The Boston Public Library was the first public library to have a reading room designed specifically for children. Credit: CATHERINE J. WILLIS

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When it opened in 1972, the Johnson Building of the Boston Public Library in Copley Square was hailed as a shining example of noted architect Philip Johnson’s modern design.

But today, the granite hulk is considered cold and unwelcoming, inefficient and ugly. This month a $16 million renovation is beginning on the building at the corner of Boylston and Exeter streets to make it more user-friendly. It is the first phase of a design that will ultimately include work throughout the Johnson Building.

“The way people access information, we really need to move ahead and put the Boston Public Library at the forefront of that change,” says library president Amy Ryan. The BPL, founded in 1852, is the oldest urban library in the country.

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