The Boston Public Library isn’t just for quietly curling up with a book anymore thanks to a partnership with WGBH.
WGBH officially opens its broadcast studio-cafe combination at the BPL this Friday, Sept. 30.
Located inside the newly renovated Johnson wing of the BPL’s Central Library at Copley Square, the 1,000-square-foot studio will include news desks, three TV cameras, nine video monitors, radio microphones and a news ticker.
A Newsfeed Cafe, owned by The Catered Affair (which currently operates the BPL’s Courtyard Restaurant and Map Room Cafe), will be open alongside the studio, inviting visitors to enjoy food as well as “food for thought” from the live broadcasts.
“This marks a new era of civic engagement, with two major Boston public institutions embarking on a world-first endeavor to provide citizens with open access to trusted information and educational content,” said WGBH COO Ben Godley in a statement. “We are thrilled to be in the heart of the city, partnering with the Boston Public Library and sharing in the vibrancy of our city and region.”
Along with real-time broadcasting, the studio will serve as a central location for interviews and recorded segments for 89.7’s Boston Public Radio as well as WGBH’s other programs.
Mayor Marty Walsh will be the studio’s first guest at 11 a.m. on Friday for Boston Public Radio’s weekly “Ask the Mayor” segment. He’ll take calls from listeners until noon and Boston Public Radio will air until 2 p.m., at which time the studio will host a ceremonial cake cutting.
Library visitors will be served from the 750-piece cake "replica" of the Johnson and McKim buildings, courtesy of The Catered Affair.
The newsroom and cafe coincide with recent renovations to the Johnson building that highlight how the BPL is offering cutting-edge library services — though, of course, book reading is still an important part of what it has to offer. In an updated New and Novel space, the library has incorporated services like personalized reading recommendations and digital displays to show the library’s catalogues and e-book collections.
WGBH and The Catered Affair submitted a joint proposal to the library for this project in which they envisioned “a creative collaboration to provide visitors with food for the mind and the palate,” according to a release.
“We have been thrilled by the response to the recent opening of the renovation of the Central Library in Copley Square, and are excited to be celebrating the launch of WGBH broadcasting live from the BPL,” said David Leonard, president of the BPL, in a statement. “With TCA and WGBH, this is an innovative partnership that will continue to animate the Central Library in new ways, offering a wealth of opportunity for programming and collaboration.”