When I arrived in Boston as the new President of the Boston Public Library in 2008, it was a professional librarian’s dream come true. I knew of the BPL’s world-class book collection and treasures like its 15th century illuminated manuscripts and seafaring maps. I know now, however, that the library’s greatest treasure lies in the people with whom I am privileged to work.
For many years, long before I arrived in Boston, it has been clear that the way people read, think, learn, and teach is being redefined. Libraries everywhere must place themselves at the forefront of such change all while minding the gap, so to speak, between those with access to technology and information and those without. This strategic planning process has afforded my colleagues and me the privilege of personally communicating with thousands of Bostonians. Whether we serve people in buildings, online, or out in the community, we have listened to them talk about the library they have loved since childhood and their hopes for the library of the future.
Libraries have never been more important or useful than they are today. In this era of ever-expanding information, libraries help people make sense of the world. In buildings, the Boston Public Library’s core services will thrive with more books, open hours, story times, programs, and access to and assistance with technology. Online, the Boston Public Library will truly open the gate to the information highway in our buildings, at work, and on-the-go. In the community, the Boston Public Library will extend itself beyond bricks and mortar to meet our users – and our potential users – where they are.
Fulfilling the Boston Public Library’s 21st century potential may take some time, but I believe we can deliver on the vision contained within these pages. With Mayor Thomas M. Menino’s support and leadership, the Boston Public Library is committed to investing in the future of Boston. With this document, we have our compass.