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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 that started in August 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 August 2019, the Computer Classroom was closed for approximately one week in order
to allow installation of classroom-scale web conferencing. With flexible seating options, storage,
and mobile computers the Learning Lab is now suitable for a far greater
variety of 
educational programs and events than ever before, and as was originally
imagined for this space. 
It no longer serves as an overflow public computing
space (note that we continue to provide 
desktop computers in the main IC area).

Laptop Kiosk

In August 2019, we converted our laptop kiosk
to dispense new Asus Flip Chrome OS devices instead of its previous 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, addresses issues that have been reported by
patrons around battery life and device complexity. The laptops previously in the kiosk are now
available via manual checkout from the IC desk for those who prefer them. This switch allows for
patrons to more easily 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

On August  12, 2019, the entire Information Commons was closed for approximately four
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 tables with Windows 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,
 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 floor-plan 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.

CPL Tech Bar Floor Plan

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

The Fuller Room and the Rindge Room will be closed for four months, starting on August 12.

We plan to reopen the IC as the Tech Bar early 2020. 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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