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Board of Trustees

March 9 , 2010

Proposed Contracts Overview (PDF)

Trustees of the Public Library of the City of Boston
Meeting of the Corporation and Administrative Agency
Tuesday, March 9 at 3 p.m.,
Rabb Lecture Hall, Central Library
700 Boylston Street, Copley Squar


1. Chairman’s Report

Mr. Jeffrey B. Rudman

  • Review and Approval of Minutes for the Trustees Meeting held on February 17, 2010

 2. President’s Report

Ms. Amy E. Ryan

  • Presentation and discussion on preliminary FY11 Boston Public Library Operating Budget

3. Public Comment

Mr. Jeffrey B. Rudman, Chairman

4. Proposed Award of Contracts, Please see Addendum (PDF)

Ms. Ruth Kowal, Director, Administration & Finance

5. New Business

Mr. Jeffrey B. Rudman, Chairman

6. Adjournment

Mr. Jeffrey B. Rudman, Chairman

 Executive Session to Discuss Legal Issues

Mr. Jeffrey B. Rudman, Chairman


Upcoming Trustees’ Meetings:

  • Tuesday, May 11, 2010, 8:30 a.m., Annual Meeting, Copley Square Library
  • Tuesday, September 14, 2010, 8:30 a.m., Copley Square Library
  • Tuesday, November 16, 2010, 3:00 p.m., Roslindale Branch Library
  • Tuesday, January 18, 2011, 3:00 p.m., South End Branch


Trustees of the Public Library of the City of Boston

Jeffrey B. Rudman, Chairman; A. Raymond Tye, Vice Chairman; Evelyn Arana-Ortiz; Zamawa Arenas; James Carroll; Donna M. DePrisco; Berth é M. Gaines; Paul A. La Camera


Amy E. Ryan

Clerk of the Board

Jamie McGlone

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Minutes of Trustees Meeting Tuesday, March 9, 2010
Corporation and Administrative Agency Rabb Lecture Hall, Copley Square

A Meeting of the Trustees of the Public Library of the City of Boston as a Corporation and as an Administrative Agency was held at the Boston Public Library, Rabb Lecture Hall, Copley Square Library, on Tuesday, March 9, 2010 at 3:00 p.m.

Present at the meeting were: Trustees Evelyn Arana-Ortiz, Zamawa Arenas, James Carroll, Donna M. DePrisco, Berth é M. Gaines via telephone, Paul A. La Camera, Jeffrey B. Rudman and the Honorable Boston City Councilors: Ayanna Pressley, Bill Linehan, Chuck Turner, John M. Tobin, Jr., Mark S. Ciommo, Maureen Feeney, and Michael P. Ross.

Also present at the meeting were: President Amy E. Ryan; Alice Hennessey, Special Assistant to Mayor Thomas M. Menino; Meredith Weenick, Associate Director, Administration & Finance, City of Boston; Maribeth Cusick, Esq., and Elizabeth Dello Russo, Esq., City of Boston Law Department; Jean Capizzi, Operating Analyst, Office of Budget Management; Andrew Ryan, Reporter, The Boston Globe; Jan Spitz, Executive Director, the Norman B. Leventhal Map Center at the Boston Public Library; Betsy Hall, Executive Director, Associates of the Boston Public Library; David J. Vieira, President, City Wide Friends of the Boston Public Library; Sarah-Ann Shaw, President, Friends of Dudley Branch; Don Haber, President, Friends of Jamaica Plain Branch; Marleen Nienhuis, President, Friends of South End Branch; Mary Ann Nelson, Friends of Parker Hill Branch Library; Daria McLean, Director of Development, Boston Public Library Foundation; Deborah Kirrane, WilmerHale LLP; Ruth Kowal, Director, Administration and Finance; Koren Stembridge, Director, Partnerships and Communications; Mary Flaherty, Human Resources Manager, Sean Nelson, Chief Financial Officer; Edward D. Maheigan, Budget and Procurement Manager; Michael Colford, Director, Resource Services/Information Technology; Christine Schonhart, Neighborhood Services Manager; Gina Perille, Communications Manager; Jim Meade, Manager of Library Buildings; Diana Preusser, Assistant Neighborhood Services Manager, Cluster 1; Sarah Markell, Assistant Neighborhood Services Manager, Cluster 2; Elissa Cadillic, President, AFSCME, Local 1526, Council 93; Anna Fahey-Flynn, President, PSA/CWA, Local 1333; and Jamie McGlone, Clerk of the Board.

Chairman Jeffrey B. Rudman presided.

Chairman Jeffrey B. Rudman welcomed the Friends of the Branch Libraries, Stakeholders, Affiliates, Media, and Colleagues of the Public Library of the City of Boston to the Boston Public Library to continue the discussion on the future of the Boston Public Library and proceed with the budget planning process for FY2011.

The Chairman outlined the procedures for the meeting noting that everyone who wishes to talk would be given the opportunity during the public comment session and that no vote would be taken today on any other specific action regarding the preliminary FY11 budget planning process.

The Chairman observed that the tremendous turnout of library friends reflects the love and passion people bring to their branch libraries to celebrate and speak up for them which is a tribute to the Boston Public Library.

Chairman Rudman announced with deep sadness Trustee A. Raymond Tye was gravely ill and respectfully requested one minute of silence. Mr. Tye, one of the most kindly, generous and philanthropic citizen the City of Boston has ever witnessed, passed the following day on March 10, 2010.

Trustee Paul A. La Camera and Mr. Keith Mahoney, City of Boston, Mayor’s Office of Intergovernmental Relations, reported on the ongoing initiatives of their governmental advocacy on behalf of the Boston Public Library.

Trustee La Camera complimented the City of Boston and others for their work and advocacy on behalf of the Boston Public Library to make the best possible case to seek State funding in light of the dire economic times facing all public institutions.

To that end, Trustee La Camera reported that Lt. Governor Timothy Murray toured the Copley Square Library yesterday for a tour of our resources and services to build upon the recent meeting he and President Amy Ryan had with Speaker of the House Robert DeLeo that will follow with a meeting this week with Representative Mark Falzone who Chairs the Massachusetts Library Caucus at the State House.

Mr. Keith Mahoney outlined strategies for building economic support for the Boston Public Library in light of the difficulties pertaining to the primary source of State Aid funding to the City of Boston has been cut the last two years and anticipates another cut this year between 3 to 5 percent, which is general operating money that goes to the City that can be used for the library.

In the context of local aid, Mr. Mahoney noted there are two individual line items that BPL relies on from the State budget include State Aid for Regional Libraries and the Library of Last Recourse/State Aid for Public Libraries both of which have been dramatically cut in the past and suggested a concerted mobilizing effort around the Boston State delegation and Friends of Libraries across the State to support the restoration of this State funding earmarked for public libraries.

President Amy E. Ryan, in her report to the Trustees, welcomed the Trustees, Boston City Councilors, staff and all who know and appreciate the importance of libraries in their lives underscoring people care deeply about the Boston Public Library and the branches.

The President stated we are in this together. The vision and discussion today is a continuation of a public process started a few years ago with the neighborhood services initiative, Chaired by Trustee James Carroll, and continues up to and through today in the near future, and the next step in a complex decision making process.

President Ryan stated the discussion today focuses on a vision for the Boston Public Library that builds on our strengths and pushes us forward. This vision complements the Trustees Compass Committee that is in the process of developing a set of Principles for Excellence that will be the subject of the Trustees Annual Meeting on May 11, 2010. In developing this discussion, the President turned to the top experts in the field which is our own staff to imagine the future of the BPL as the best it can be.

The President noted she will present to the Trustees for their discussion a Set of Measurements and other factors to have a clear basis to make the necessary decisions as to how we align our staffing and funding to realize our vision. This set of criteria is not final and is subject to a Trustees’ discussion. Chief Financial Officer Sean Nelson will provide a financial overview of the library following her remarks.

The President underscored we are at a crossroads. This is a moment in time when we have the opportunity to reshape the BPL for ourselves, for our children and for our children’s children. We all know that the world of information is constantly transforming itself. Libraries have never been more important or useful than they are today. Libraries help people make sense of the world.

Up until 1990, libraries essentially offered the same type of services for over a century. Within the last 20 years the rapid growth of change has been exponential and it is an exciting time to be a librarian. The President recalled that when she started as a reference librarian we used to help people search for one answer through manuals, encyclopedias, directories; now we are information navigators helping people to sort through millions of hits from the internet.

Twenty years ago, public libraries were installing their first public computers. Today the BPL offers 440 public computers, wireless access at all locations and our web site receives 5 million visits per year. During the course of just this meeting, more than 2,400 visits to will take place and if we counted the number of times people downloaded books, media and movies, it would rank as the 6th highest in circulation of the 26 branches.

Many young adults today have grown up with computers since kindergarten and college freshmen today have never used a card catalog. We also know that the Massachusetts Curriculum Framework calls for computer and information literacy for students today.

The President underscored we owe it to the people of Boston to re-imagine the BPL into one that truly provides tomorrow’s services today. Essential to that commitment is enhancing our core services: books, story times, programs, computers research services at Copley and preservation of our cultural treasures.

The Boston Public Library is very well positioned to build on its strengths and to move forward. The investment of the BPL since 1848 through today is clear and tangible that includes: World renowned Collection; Architecturally distinguished Copley Library; Mattapan Branch Library is truly an example of a 21 st century library; Leader in Digitization; Committed to Early Literacy and School success; and for over 160 years, our dedicated Staff has valued Excellence and Innovation.

The President reiterated we now must go further. We can’t take a car designed in the 1970s onto today’s information superhighway. Now is the time to challenge ourselves to re-image the BPL for a successful future. Our vision is that the Boston Public Library touches every Bostonian in a system-wide transformative way: in buildings, online and in the community.

On the buildings front, the President noted this is about ensuring every BPL location offers the books, services, and programs that respond to our public with convenient, expanded hours, and the right number of staff in the right places to assist people of all ages and from all walks of life in a welcoming well designed physical environment.

The Copley Square Central Library will remain an intellectual cornerstone serving researchers and lifelong learners, and a guardian of our cultural treasures. We will consolidate service points but safeguard our services.

The Boston Public Libraries are staying in the neighborhoods that will still reflect the library you love now and have loved since childhood. Only they could be better.

The President underscored right now the BPL is struggling to provide the right level of staffing. We are stretched to the point where at times we have had to close for lunches due to inadequate staffing, key positions remain vacant such as children’s librarians, front line staff and others. The status quo is not working for the staff or the public.

We can excel if we re-align our services. Our goals for both Copley and the branches are to: repurpose staff time to increase programming and classes and to form partnerships that have a direct, positive impact for the public; change library hours across the system to include more evenings, weekends, and to increase staffing at peak times like after school hours; create a pool of staff program experts linked to services rather than locations for specialized programming like early literacy skills and book discussions; and increase the number of computers so people don’t have to wait in line to fill out job applications, scholarship forms, and write their resumes.

Our libraries are cultural anchors and learning institutions, and we must ensure that if the sign says Boston Public Library, we have committed the resources for families, kids, and adults, to find it open, well stocked with books and computers, with stimulating programs and the right level of staffing.

On the online front, the Boston Public Library is the gateway to information and knowledge and transforming services online means redeploying resources to provide for: more computers; higher level of access to online resources; and public training. The BPL has to be a leader in bridging the digital divide for people of all ages. But we are lagging behind with outdated technology, not enough computers, and insufficient technical support.

Our web services are closer to an abridged encyclopedia than to a full volume. We can excel if our resources follow demand in concert with our goals to: provide state-of-the-art technology; training for the public; develop a robust website that serves an interactive, lively online community; support researchers and lifelong learners with enhanced access to our unique collections; continue to be a leader in digitizing our cultural treasures; and improve access to information to people wherever our users are. The challenge is to realign our resources to respond to the growing and ever more important demand and to bridge the digital divide.

On the community front, the President underscored we need to redefine the boundaries of library services and redraw them outside the walls of our buildings through community outreach. Our current staffing model does not allow us the flexibility to visit childcares, senior centers, or community events and we have passed up critical partnerships due to lack of staffing to support innovative ideas.

We can excel if we make the right choices in alignment with our goals to leverage our tax supported services to bring in more corporate sponsors and secure grants that should come more easily to an institution of this caliber. We have to connect with people beyond our walls at schools, in the neighborhoods, and reach out to the community and introduce BPL to people who may not be traditional library users. Clearly, this is a leap in library services that can only be realized if we change our conventional staffing patterns.

In conclusion, the President underscored this is just the beginning of building a truly 21 st century library as we join with the community to forge ahead. We know this will take time but we can deliver on this vision, given our resources, if we choose to align our funding and staffing in a new way. Now there is a sense of urgency because of the financial challenges.

The budget reductions for the upcoming fiscal year will take a serious human toll. This is the second year in a row where funding has necessitated layoffs. It is especially painful to have to take severe measures because of the dedication and commitment of our employees. But we owe it to our employees to build a financially sustainable and stable workplace and we also owe it to the citizens of Boston to deliver a stronger, better public library.

To that end, the President noted it will mean re-imaging the way we deliver services, changing the way we conduct business, and consolidating our service points at Copley and in the branches. Closing some buildings is part of this discussion as is hours reductions and other administrative system-wide support services. Some of the choices will be hard but the President is strongly convinced that we will be positioned for the future if we align our resources for the library of tomorrow to serve the people of Boston in buildings, online and in the community.

The President discussed the draft methodology that potentially measures our services, operations and proximities to other libraries for the Trustees discussion within the context that every branch has an individual story, and part of the reason we are considering many data sources is that not one or two types of data tell a true story.

The President observed that the library will review the story behind the numbers to help us more clearly move ahead on our decisions in light of public comments, other assets in the neighborhoods, potential partnerships, and how we can deliver services that aren’t building bound. Further, the Trustees, President, and Staff appreciate and acknowledge the importance of a public library and many of us have spent our whole adult life in public libraries.

President Ryan reviewed the proposed Draft BPL Measures and Other Definitions which include; Public Use Measures of data gathered from January 2009 – December 2009; Operational Measures; Geographical Measures; Other Considerations; and Additional Definitions

The President reported that the draft Public Use Measures include: Books and audiovisual materials borrowed (Circulation); Foot traffic; Computer sessions; and public wireless internet sessions. The draft Operational Measures include: Accessibility; Technology expansion; Meeting Room; and Parking lot with or adjacent to the library. The draft Geographical Measures include: Geographical proximity to the lead library; and Geographical proximity to other libraries. The draft Other Considerations include: Program attendance; Number of public programs; Public Feedback; Capital Projects; Partnerships and Community Assets; and Information and data from other urban library systems.

President Ryan introduced Chief Financial Officer Sean Nelson to provide a financial overview of the Boston Public Library. Mr. Nelson presented a PowerPoint(PDF) report that provided financial background information on the BPL for FY10 and a draft overview on planning for the FY11 Boston Public Library Operating Budget.

In a financial overview of FY10, Mr. Nelson highlighted the revenue sources, expenditures, reductions, one-time solutions, and additional savings measures and reported that FY10 revenue for the Boston Public Library declined by $6.9 million totaling a 14% reduction from FY09. Total revenue from the State dropped by $4.75M, a 55% reduction from FY09; City revenue dropped by $1.5M, a 4.8% reduction from FY09; and revenue from Trust Funds, Donations, Gifts, Grants and other sources dropped by $600K, a 9% reduction from FY09.

Mr. Nelson provided an overview of the BPL FY10 Revenue Sources and Spending which reflected approximately 63% of the entire operating budget for personnel costs, 17% for facility and utility costs, and 11% for library books, CDs, DVDs and materials.

The CFO noted $6.9M in FY10 reductions and reallocations were needed to balance the budget including eliminated positions for a savings of $2.3M and thanks to the good will and cooperation of the 2 unions with the City’s Office of Labor Relations a wage freeze was negotiated that saved 14 positions and the Library ultimately eliminated 20 vacant positions across-the-board and additionally reduced system-wide administrative and support activities.

The CFO reported on the fiscal planning efforts for FY11 in concert with the FY11 Budget Principles presented by President Ryan at the last Trustees Meeting on February 17, 2010 including: FY11 will position the BPL for the future and begin transformation of services for 2015; FY11 spending reductions will take place across-the-board in system-wide services and support, at the Central Library , and in the neighborhood branches; a planful approach that factors-in the cumulative impact of back-to-back years of budget reductions; and financially sound and fiscally responsible, minimizing reliance on one-time solutions.

Within this fiscal context, the CFO noted the FY10 rising demand for service at the BPL that included four measures: circulation, web visits, public wireless sessions and digital downloads and the challenge to meet not only the FY11 projected All Funds budget gap of $3.6M but also the critical need to channel resources where they are most needed.

The CFO reviewed the best information available regarding the FY11 estimated funding revenue which reflects estimated FY11 appropriation from the City of Boston is 1% below FY10 and State funding is estimated to decrease by approximately 40% from FY10 to FY11 that does not capture additional support received from the City over-and-above the annual operating budget estimated at $6M.

The CFO reviewed the FY11 preliminary Budget Options outlined in the “Budget Planning for FY11: A Discussion Document" at the Trustees Meeting on February 17, 2010 pertaining to three primary areas: Administrative and System-wide support; Copley Square, Central Library; and the Neighborhood Branches.

The CFO noted that to minimize impact on front line public service delivery, reductions to administrative and system-wide support activities were evaluated first. Additionally, preliminary budget options were also presented pertaining to the Copley Square Central Library and the Neighborhood Branches which are also posted online and more budget materials will be posted as well.

Trustee James Carroll underscored that books are the core of the mission of Boston Public Library and the essence that defines the BPL and noted with great displeasure the $1.5M FY10 reduction to books. Trustee Carroll strongly emphasized that reductions for books can’t continue because books matter more now than ever and the more information is available electronically the fewer paper books publishers are going to make available to the public.

Trustee Carroll emphasized libraries must re-double their commitment to own books because libraries are the repository of books, and while the decision had to be made for FY10, we are already stepping on the single most precious part of the libraries responsibilities and that cannot continue.

Trustee Donna M. DePrisco concurred with Trustee Carroll whole-heartedly and as a Trustee for the past 15 years vowed to do all she could to make sure the library receives the critical funds it needs and would review all the data to see what is needed to keep the branches open.

Trustee Zamawa Arenas noted as a new Bostonian sixteen years ago she relied on the BPL to connect with the City and to learn about the neighborhoods and the people of Boston underscoring she knows first hand how critical the BPL is for the neighborhoods.

Trustee Arenas reiterated the need to focus on the strengths of the BPL and our core assets of books and what they mean for generations to come and to be strategic about the steps that need to be taken in a very thorough, fair and reasonable quantitative and qualitative decision making process. To that end, Trustee Arenas asked that a very detailed report on future options and recommendations highlight the impact on the community, in the branch, and financially in the neighborhood.

Trustee Paul A. La Camera commended the wonderfully informative presentation by President Amy E. Ryan that will inform the further discussions about the future of the Boston Public Library. Trustee La Camera noted that public comment would follow which will have importance and influence in the Board’s decision making process to make the Boston Public Library the strongest possible library in the nation.

The Honorable Michael P. Ross, President, Boston City Council noted that the Boston City Council votes on the library budget and underscored he values the opinions of the public and graciously yielded his time for the public to speak first.

Chairman Jeffrey B. Rudman invited public comment from fifty individuals who signed the Public Comment Session sheets to speak for two minutes each and the highlights of the public suggestions over nearly two hours are summarized as follows:

  • Urged the Trustees to preserve the essential community services that the branches provide on an affordable basis throughout Boston Public Library, HAP programs, safe havens for children to learn and do their homework particularly for those whose parents work, and providing a meeting place for adults of all backgrounds, job finding resource for the unemployed and safe haven to shelter the lonely and homeless
  • Reducing branches and hours is an attack on the poor and adversely affect the neighborhood financially
  • Branches need to be ADA accessible and questioned if the budget options presented truly are about money in light of 1,400 signatures gathered by the Friends of Jamaica Plain Branch
  • Underscored the importance of branches to children who would be locked out and no safe place to go
  • Suggested reasonably priced fundraisers to help raise funds for the Boston Public Library as well as tapping into the wealthy residents and athletes of Boston
  • Urged the Trustees to use every possible way not to close any branches because Boston is still a city of turfs and closing branches would pit each neighborhood against one another
  • Neighborhood Branches are a privilege that we all deserve as Americans and citizens of Boston
  • Despite the difficult economic times, the BPL should consider selling some of its treasures and collections given the library currently does not have the money to properly preserve and display its artifacts
  • Faneuil Branch in Oak Square is the cultural and intellectual center of the community and if it were to close it would adversely impact pre-schoolers, families, retirees and a new group of diverse citizens that would have a ripple affect in the neighborhood given they represent a vital link to the intellectual life of the city
  • Requested that the library look at what people would be losing if branches are closed and the community needs to be surveyed about what each branch means to the people who live there to determine what library services the people of Boston would be losing
  • Suggested the Board explore the Federal Stimulus Recovery Act Funds totaling $1.6 B earmarked for the Commonwealth for educational purposes in light of the BPL’s role as the library for the neighborhood schools that do not have school libraries
  • Requested the library post the budget financial documents on the BPL website in Spanish to accommodate the many bi-lingual users of the BPL who care deeply about the library
  • Called again for the resignation of the entire Board of Trustees based on observations they have neglected their fiduciary duties as stewards of the BPL and questioned whose idea it is to re-imagine the library and requested the publi c be asked what they envision for neighborhood services and how they are willing to pay for them
  • Presented 130 signatures from the Faneuil Branch Library neighborhood so that no branch of the BPL is closed. Suggested the Board read the children’s book entitled The Boy who lived in the Library and that the library include the determinant principles in the future vision that libraries are about books and librarians
  • Asked the Board not to divide our neighborhoods against one another by closing branches that never will open again and to seek funding from the Colleges in Boston to support the neighborhood branches
  • The neighborhood branches are the absolute integral fabric of our communities that provide intergenerational conversations between children and seniors that cannot be facilitated with computers and urged the Board to do whatever it takes not to close any branches, including reducing hours, because branches are essential to the economic and cultural well-being of our communities
  • Noted how exciting and important this Trustees Meeting is giving people a chance to express their passionate feelings about their libraries during a critical time and clearly there are not going to be easy answers and is assured that the Board and President are taking the public deliberations very seriously in concert with developing a plan for the future
  • Urged the Board to explore the impact on the teenagers of Boston as a separate user group who have been short changed in many ways for decades in the delivery of library services including the Boston Public Schools
  • Recalled at the last meeting a user suggested a $10 fee to use the library and asked the Board to reconsider that suggestion if it comes down to user fees to prevent the branches from closing and offered the Board $10
  • “Free to All” is carved in the entrance above the façade of the McKim Building and a mandatory charge is nothing by way of support for the library and it is understood the library has to do better with its fundraising efforts
  • The vision that is being reflected as the Board re-imagines the BPL resonates from the ideas generated three years ago by the Trustees Neighborhood Services Committee Chaired by James Carroll that is posted online. (PDF)The dream was to be the heart of a new massive capital campaign to restore the community branches carried by the strong leadership of the newly appointed President Amy Ryan but the economy fell off the cliff and the campaign has been put on hold
  • Suggested advocating for the entire branch library system rather than advocating for a particular branch, including at the State House and Federal Government levels, and with respect to closing branches this could be the beginning of the end as the saying goes “and then they came for me and by that time no one was left to speak up”
  • Consider the constraints of where the money comes to fund the Boston Public Library
  • Presented signatures from petitions not to close the Egleston and Jamaica Plain Branches noting no libraries were closed during the Great Depression and to consider volunteers to staff the branches to maintain hours of service
  • Spoke on behalf of the research and educational mission of the Boston Public Library and suggested greater collaboration and partnerships with non-profit and educational organizations critical for enriching today’s 21 st century learners
  • Urged the Board to keep all the branches open through galvanizing the support of the people of Boston and in concert with greater communication with the businesses in Boston and creating a market for the services offered in the branches
  • Spoke on behalf of the South End Branch being the major institution which has allowed for the enormous diversity, complexity, generosity and liberality of our community and suggested the two options are lop-sided: the first option is stated negatively; the second option is stated positively except for the last point except some people will have greater difficulty in accessing other libraries. Further underscored not to fall for the illusion of accessibility because for many people if their local library is unavailable there is no library and suggested requested contributions could wipe out the deficit facing the library coupled with the use of volunteers
  • Energized by the Mass Rally for Libraries at the State House today and urged everyone to contact their State legislators to support all public libraries throughout the Commonwealth
  • Urged the Board to save the Branch Libraries for the children of Boston particularly in the neighborhoods that do not have any other community resources other than the library
  • Advocated for proactively saving the Branch Libraries which define our culture noting the BPL was first in the nation to establish a public library and first to establish a branch library
  • Advocated for the youth of Boston who critically need the resources and services of their branch libraries including books and librarians
  • Addressed the critical resources the Branch Libraries provide for families and urged the State Legislature to raise the tax base to support public libraries in the Commonwealth
  • Asked the Board to thoroughly examine the demographics and unique services and programs each branch library offers for the community in which the branch is located
  • Concern that branch library closings would divide our neighborhoods by pitting them against each other and suggested improvement in communications in the neighborhoods
  • Concern about closing neighborhood branches in light of 14 under-performing schools in the City of Boston
  • Encouraged the audience to write letters to President Obama to provide federal support for the BPL
  • Urged the Board to invest in the future of the children of Boston through keeping the branches open in all the neighborhoods
  • Although the BPL has the third highest in regards to the saturation of branches in the country that is a good thing and asked to stop presenting the closure of branches and reduction of services at the Central Library as options in light of what the public has requested
  • Local researcher urged the Board to continue to support the ongoing digitization of Boston Public Library special collections despite the current shortfalls
  • Proposal One regarding reducing the hours exempts 8 of the large branches which is an injustice to all the rest of the branches in the system and the cuts should be made across the board and the burden shared by all not just by the small branches
  • Presented 1,300 signatures to keep the Parker Hill Branch open and to consider having lower level Gala fundraisers throughout the City to raise funds earmarked to save the branches
  • Consider population density around BPL branches and close proximity to schools with respect to the criteria for planning measures
  • Requested the Board not to consider any closures or layoffs until all revenues sources are fully explored noting no libraries were closed during the Great Depression
  • Suggested that volunteerism should definitely be considered as part of the solution to keep the Branch Libraries open
  • Consider the alignment of resources and services between the BPL and the Boston Public Schools
  • Consider the plight of small business owners in the city who consistently use the services offered by the neighborhood branches in order to survive
  • Etched in the façade of the McKim building are the words “The Commonwealth requires the Education of the Public as a Safeguard of Order and Liberty” and asked if the library doors are closed who then would safeguard order and liberty while urging the Board to keep the mission in mind during this period of transition and change
  • From a child’s heart, it would be horrible if the Parker Hill Branch closed because she uses it every day after school and it the closest library to three schools
  • Consider including in the criteria proximity of affordable public housing developments with respect to branch library closures on behalf of the residents who need them the most
  • Pleaded with the Board not to close the Dudley Literacy Center at the Dudley Branch Library which has personally enriched her life and educational skills

Chairman Jeffrey B. Rudman noted receipt of a letter from the Honorable Boston City Councilor Charles Turner dated March 8, 2010 which stated that “he is opposed to both of President Ryan’s proposals and he requested the Mayor to take money from the reserves to fill the gap”.

The Board thanked the community for their input and stated that they would reflect and think about the suggestions and ideas and would schedule a Special Trustees Meeting in the near future. There being no other business, the meeting of the Corporation and Administrative Agency adjourned at 6:30 p.m.

Respectfully yours,

Clerk of the Board

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