IC Renovations

InfoCommons Renovations


This document provides current and detailed information about the renovations to the
Infocommons (IC) public computing area in the Main Library starting in February 2019. It will be
updated as the project progresses. Please see the STEAM Spaces document on the Library
STEAM Portal for a higher-level overview of how these renovations fit into the library’s larger
strategy for supporting STEAM education in the City. Please see our Public Meetings page for
notes and slides from the public meetings in which the Library shared and refined its plans
based on public input.

The Learning Lab

In late February, the Computer Classroom will be closed for approximately four weeks in order
to allow installation of classroom-scale web conferencing, flexible furniture and laptop computer
storage systems. When the room comes back online later this Spring, it will be a state-of-the-art
“Learning Lab,” suitable for a far greater variety of educational programs and events than ever
before, and as was originally imagined for this space. It will no longer serve as an overflow
public computing space (note that we will continue to provide desktop computers in the main IC
area).

While the classroom is being renovated, and until the new “Tech Bar” comes online this
summer, additional laptop computers will be made available for checkout from a charging cart
immediately outside the classroom. Over time, the Library will deploy multiple laptops for every
classroom computer that is no longer available for general purpose public computing, greatly
increasing total public computing capacity and allowing patrons freedom to use devices
throughout the library.

Laptop Kiosk

At around the same time as the Learning Lab renovation, we will be converting our laptop kiosk
to dispense new Asus Flip Chrome OS devices instead of its current mix of Macbooks and Dell
Windows laptops. The superior battery life of these Chrome OS devices, combined with their
ease of use and greater speed of availability, will address issues that have been reported by
patrons around battery life and device complexity. The laptops currently in the kiosk will still be
available via manual checkout from the IC desk for those who prefer them. By making this
switch, we will make it easier for patrons to check out the devices that are most likely to provide
them with a satisfactory computing experience, while retaining the option to check out other
devices.

Tech Bar

In late spring 2019, the entire Information Commons area will be closed for approximately two
months for the construction of the Tech Bar, an enhanced service desk for device checkout and
patron support, and furniture changes to better support portable computing. Digital menus will
be installed above the Tech Bar service desk to give (almost) real-time updates of device
availability. The old IC desk will be removed. Four carrels with desktop computers will be
replaced with coffee-bar inspired tables and comfortable seating. An elegant workbar will be
installed in the hall outside the Rindge Room for patron seating. Three carrels with desktop
computers will be preserved for patrons who prefer them. Public printers will be moved to
dedicated mini-tables.

The Tech Bar service desk will be stocked with a continuously refreshed variety of laptops,
tablets, STEAM kits and other devices such as mobile Wifi Hotspots, some for use in the library,
and others available for “take out.” The digital menus will clearly communicate item availability
and loan terms.

Below is a floorplan of what the new Tech Bar public computing area and Learning Lab will look
like when renovations are complete. Printers are denoted with the letter p, the laptop kiosk with
a k. Note that some details of furniture and equipment placement may change.
While the IC is under construction and inaccessible, laptops will be available for checkout from
another public service desk. As soon as we determine which desk, we will update this document
with that information.

Floorplan of renovated infocommons area


The Teen Room, Fuller Room, and Rindge Room will be unavailable for a portion of the
construction period -- details forthcoming.

We plan to reopen the IC as the Tech Bar by late Summer 2019. We are confident it will vastly
improve patron experience, providing easy access to a larger number and greater variety of
devices, for longer periods of time, within and beyond the Library.

Thank you for your patience during this transition period!


The Board of Library Trustees approved this document detailing the changes to the public computing area at the Main Library at their meeting on March 5, 2019.

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