Category Archives: What’s Cool

Why The Boston Public Library is Underrated

It’s true, sometimes we tend to over-romanticize college and forget about our academic obligations. But suddenly, it is midterm season, and it is time to “lock in” on your five-page essay or naively try to cram-study your professor’s biology slides the day before an exam. Which now puts us here, regretting choosing our “mental health” over attending our 8 a.m. class.  

The Healey Library respects your endeavors and struggles as a student. We want the best for your scholarly intentions and goals at UMass Boston. Often, a loud dormitory or your pestering parents’ house is not the best setting to conquer your coursework. Sometimes, we crave the quiet and gratifying environment of a library to motivate our productivity. That, along with an iced coffee, a pair of noise-canceling headphones, chill-music, aaand we’re back to romanticizing.  

However, the Boston Public Library has more than an attractive environment. It is filled with bountiful resources, benefits, events, and opportunities to help you be more confident in a classroom. Here are a few things I appreciate about the BPL.

NOTE! Its important to note that the eCard is available to only those who live, reside part-time to attend school, own property, or work in Massachusetts.

For physical cards, you would need to apply at the circulation desk in any BPL location. You also need to come with picture ID and proof of Massachusetts residency. For more information visit

1) Long-term Free Loan of Chromebook Laptops

The library provides free Wi-Fi access for all and runs a short-term and long-term laptop loaning service! Going to college without a personal computer can be impossible. However, thanks to the Emergency Connectivity Fund, the library allows for the personal and academic use of a Chromebook and home Internet via home Wi-Fi routers.  

Additionally, the BPL also provides free computer and technology classes to make the setup process a bit easier! 

Click the link to see eligibility FAQs and other useful information:

2) Free English Fluency ESOL Courses

If English is not your first language, take advantage of the free English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) programs for adult learners! The program offers online, and in-person facilitated classes. 

There are multiple course levels and styles including Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced, small group tutoring, and volunteer-led Conversation Groups. 

For more information about upcoming events and registration go to 

3) Get Test Prep and Homework Help Digitally 

Need help studying? Through the LearningExpress Library, you can have FREE access to thousands of test preparation materials and practice exams! These resources include college courses and career certification tests. 

Go to for more information! 

4) Adaptive Computer Station Software and Accessories for Disability Awareness 

The BPL cares about inclusivity and is aware of the obstacles that may come across individuals with certain disabilities. That’s why several of their program rooms are equipped with adaptive computer accessories and software! The list of tools includes; Windows Ease of Access capabilities, Duxbury Braille, Translator Braille Printer Juliet, and Kurzweil 3000. 

Go to for more information about the adaptive computer station. 

5) App To E-Download Any Book on a Digital Device 

Got a job? Busy running errands? Or simply, no available commute? No problem! Recently, the BPL launched their new To-Go mobile app that allows access to their collection without stepping foot into the library. Like the “To Go Program,” which allows patrons to place holds, pick up, and return items such as books, CDs, and DVDs, the app makes ordering items for pick-up even easier! 

The app is currently available to download on the App Store, and Google Play. Go check it out! Go to, for more specifications on the app’s features. 

We’re not quite done yet! You also have the ability to download available e-books and audio-books for leisure reading using Libby! This is another app the BPL offers and allows its patrons a quick and easier way to virtually read from the library! Convenience is the key to a students heart after all! Check it out now on the App Store and Google Play.

For more information on Libby, visit

6) Personal Book Shopper 

This is more of a fun benefit of having a BPL card. But, it deserves to be on this list! If you are in the mood to read but not sure what books to choose from, the library will do it for you! All you need to do is fill out a short form regarding your reading preferences and habits. Librarians will have 3-5 books ready just for you. The more you tell, the better the recommendations, so don’t be shy! 

Check out, to get started! 

7) Free Museum Passes

Whether the resources you are looking for are available elsewhere, or, maybe you just want to immerse yourself in art or science, either way, the BPL hears you. So, that’s why they provide FREE or discounted access to a variety of museums! With an active physical library card, you can reserve 1 pass per museum per thirty-day period (Note you can not reserve a pass with an eCard, you need a physical card). The list of participating museums includes the Boston Children’s Museum, Harvard Museums of Science & Cultures, Museum of Fine Arts, Museum of Science, New England Aquarium, and the USS Constitution Museum.

Sound like fun? For further information and eligibility requirements go to

8) Housing, Health, & Hunger Help

Aside from supporting individuals with scholarly advancements, the BPL also cares about the financial and physical well-being of its patrons. Homelessness is often a misunderstood phenomenon that does get the recognition and compassion it deserves. That’s why the BPL provides online guides containing information useful for families and individuals who are housing and food insecure. Not only does the guide act as an educational resource but the entire Housing, Health & Hunger Help page provides outside resources and opportunities to access such as “Area Shelters”, “Housing Assistance”, “Food and Free Meal Kits”, “Healthcare”, and more!

If this interests you, check out for more information.

Hopefully, you made it to the end of this list and appreciate the Boston Public Library a bit more! The Healey Library is letting all of you know that any resident, student, or worker in Massachusetts is eligible for a BPL library card and BPL eCard. So don’t hesitate and fill out the forms now, see you at the library!

Want to Make Finding Full Text Articles Easier? Download the Lean Library Browser Extension page with the Get Access Lean Library Pop-up appearing on the top right. The pop-up has a Get Access button.
Lean Library is a browser extension that provides quick and simple access to Library-subscribed full-text content – whenever, wherever you need it. When you’re on a website that contains library-subscribed content, the browser extension will notify you with a pop-up alert in the bookmarks bar that library access exists. The pop-up will provide you with the Get Access button to prompt you to authenticate with your UMass Boston login. If we do not have full-text access, then the extension will provide a link to InterLibrary Loan.

You don’t have to interrupt your workflow to find Healey Library; Healey Library will find you! Download the extension, select University of Massachusetts Boston, and start browsing for articles!

Here are some other ways Lean Library can help:

Find alternative access to articles and ebooks. If there is no access to the article or book through the current site, Lean Library helps find alternative access in another Healey Library-licensed resource or through open access channels. For books, Lean Library will take the ISBN on a page and match it up to our library holdings. This also works with Amazon, Google, and Outlook (web)!

Improved Google Scholar experience
You will notice our Find It@UMBrella links appearing beside some full text. Run a search – engineering education for women- in Google Scholar to test it out. Without Lean Library, you will have to go through Google’s multi-step Library Links set-up.

Highlight & Search in UMBrella
With Lean Library, you can highlight any text on a webpage and search it in UMBrella. Do this by using the context menu of your browser, i.e. by right-clicking on a webpage. Select the Search UMBrella @ Healey Library option from the menu.

For even more information about Lean Library, including FAQs, please visit our Lean Library Guide.

UMBrella Update: Changes to Your Library Login!

UMBrella Update

After the successful launch of UMBrella and the rollout of our updated and mobile-friendly Library homepage, the Library is thrilled to announce another improvement:

As of TODAY, Library users will be prompted to enter their UMass Boston email username and password instead of their barcode when accessing the Library’s electronic resources from off-campus!

Migrating the Library’s off-campus access to the University’s single sign-on (SSO) system streamlines patrons’ access to the Library’s resources whenever and wherever needed.

Library barcodes are not going away! Patrons will still need their barcode to check out items from the Library, and, for the short term, to submit interlibrary loan (ILL) requests. 

Please continue to put UMBrella through its paces and share with us any issues you encounter or improvements you’d like to suggest. The feedback form awaits your comments!

Thank you to UMass Boston’s Information Technology Services (ITS) and UMass’s University Information Technology Services (UITS) for their continued partnership in helping us enhance library services and resources for the campus community!

UMBrella Update: OPEN for Research and Discovery!

UMBrella Update

Good news: UMBrella is live!  The Library’s new, powerful, state-of-the-art, single-stop information search and discovery tool can be accessed directly from the Library’s new and  improved, mobile-friendly library homepage.  We encourage you to jump right in to see how UMBrella enhances your research experience, and to let us know how it goes.

To help you get started, here are some pointers and links:

    • Healey Library invites you to sign up for one of our introductory UMBrella training workshops offered throughout the month of February. Other training materials will be made available online for those who cannot attend a workshop in person.
    • Please share your feedback about the new system so that we can continue to improve your search experience. Please fill out this comment form after you’ve had a chance to explore UMBrella.
    • As with any major platform migration, we are committed to addressing any questions, problems, or inconsistencies that arise from the migration process. We sincerely welcome your suggestions and feedback. Please direct questions or comments to so that we can address them as quickly as possible!
    • UMBrella users can search nearly all of the articles, books, videos, and e-books that the Library owns or subscribes to. In addition, users can search through multiple pathways. For example, users can access individual databases like CINAHL or JSTOR, or search specific journal titles through UMBrella.

Here’s what’s on the horizon in the near future:

    • Healey Library staff will be using your feedback and questions to inform our ongoing interface adjustments and to troubleshoot any issues that arise. This process will result in a continually improving research experience for our users!
    • We are pleased to announce that UMBrella uses the University’s Single Sign-On authentication system. Users log in to UMBrella the same way they access WISER and HR Direct, using their UMass Boston email username and password. We are in the process of extending the Single Sign-On system to replace the existing barcode and last name combination for off-campus access to databases and e-journal articles.

The launch of UMBrella is a joint partnership between Healey Library, Information Technology Services, and UMass Information Technology Services.  All of us wish you the best in your research journeys and look forward to your feedback on UMBrella!


UMBrella Update: Tell Your Students…

UMBrella Update

UMBrella: Covering All Your Research Needs is scheduled to launch at the end of this month!  

In preparation, could all faculty members please encourage their students, especially new, online, or transfer students, to contact the library to activate their library barcodes during the first week of classes?

At the bottom of this message you will find both text and a graphic that you can include in your course syllabi, Blackboard course pages, wikis, or other course handouts and materials to get this important message across to your students.

Here’s the full story:

As the UMBrella launch approaches, there will be a brief system-wide freeze scheduled on Sunday, January 28-Monday, January 29. Here are the highlights of what this freeze means for Healey Library patrons:

  • During this freeze, normal library operations will still continue, and library patrons with current, active barcodes will still be able to check out materials, submit interlibrary loan requests, and access library resources both in person and online.
  • However, during the period of Sunday, January 28-Monday, January 29, library staff will be unable to distribute or activate NEW barcodes. This means that, during this two-day system freeze, any student, faculty, or staff member who has not yet gotten or activated their library barcode will be unable to request items via interlibrary loan or access the library’s electronic resources from off-campus. (Users who request new barcodes during this two-day window will be able to check out materials from Healey Library during the freeze.)

With your help in encouraging students to get their barcodes during the first week of classes, we can ensure that as few patrons as possible are affected by the two-day systems freeze leading up to the launch of UMBrella.

As a reminder, you may also invite your students to sign up for one of our UMBrella workshops running in February. These workshops are open to the entire campus community and are intended to help our users make the most of this impressive new resource.

Text Announcement for Including in Course Materials:
Please be sure to activate your Healey Library barcode by Friday, January 26, 2018. Due to an extensive library system migration and upgrade, library barcode services will be unavailable Sunday, January 28-Monday, January 29. During this two-day window, only patrons with current library barcodes will be able to submit interlibrary loan requests or access Healey Library’s electronic resources from off-campus. For instructions on getting or activating your barcode, please see:

Graphic for Including in Course Materials:
Get Your Library Barcode by Friday, January 26








Healey Library welcomes your questions, comments, or feedback directed to!