Spacer graphic Boston Public Library
Meetings
Board of Trustees

June 21, 2010


Trustees of the Public Library of the City of Boston
Meeting of the Corporation and Administrative Agency
Monday, June 21, 2010 at 3 p.m.
Orientation Room, McKim Building
700 Boylston Street, Boston, MA


Agenda

  1. Chairman’s Report, Mr. Jeffrey B. Rudman
    • Review and approval of Minutes for the Trustees Meeting held on May 11, 2010
  2. President’s Report, Ms. Amy E. Ryan
    • Review of Proposed FY11 Operating Budget
    • BPL Budget Outreach and Public Engagement
    • Outreach Initiatives, Christine Schonhart, Neighborhood Services Manager
    • Update on Charlestown Service Building Transfer to City of Boston
    • McKim Building Space Allocation
      Elliott Room, Changing Exhibits Room, Norman B. Leventhal Map Center
  3. Trust Fund Report on Bequests, President Amy Ryan

    At the May 11, 2010 Trustees Meeting information was requested on the following two bequests: Estate of Pasquale J. Grillo, Jr. -- Pasquale “Pat” Grillo, Jr., a veteran and former telephone company employee, was a 35-year patron of the Boston Public Library’s Copley Square Library. During his visits to the BPL, Pat particularly enjoyed movie nights and socializing with friends, patrons, and staff that he met over the years. He was particularly concerned with the plight of the less fortunate citizens that visited the BPL. Pat’s nephew, Robert Barsamian, hopes that his bequest—while unrestricted—may be able to benefit those patrons that are most in need. Mr. Barsamian also requested that his uncle’s gift be publicly acknowledged. The bequest from the estate of Pasquale J. Grillo, Jr., totaled $86,724.34.

  4. Estate of Esther M. Engelman – Esther M. Engelman was born in Boston in 1921 and grew up in Brookline. She was educated at Simmons College and graduated with honors in 1942. Mrs. Engelman’s love of writing was central to her life and career. After college, Mrs. Engelman moved to New York City where she was employed as an editor and a writer for various newspapers and news wire services, including both the Associated Press and United Press International. She later finished her career as a book manuscript editor. Mrs. Engelman did not have any children and died in New York City in 2009. The bequest from the estate of Esther M. Engelman totaled $150,000.

  5. New Business Mr. Jeffrey B. Rudman, Chairman

  6. Public Comment Mr. Jeffrey B. Rudman, Chairman
     
  7. Adjournment Mr. Jeffrey B. Rudman, Chairman

 Executive Session

Mr. Jeffrey B. Rudman, Chairman

Schedule of Trustees Meetings for 2010-2011

Mr. Jeffrey B. Rudman, Chairman

Tuesday, September 14, 2010, 8:30 a.m., Orientation Room, McKim Building
Tuesday, November 16, 2010, 3:00 p.m., Roslindale Branch Library
Tuesday, January 18, 2011, 3:00 p.m., Brighton Branch Library
Tuesday, March 8, 2011, 3:00 p.m., Charlestown Branch Library
Tuesday, May 10, 2011, 8:30 a.m., Annual Meeting, Orientation Room, McKim Building

 

Trustees of the Public Library of the City of Boston
Jeffrey B. Rudman, Chairman;
Evelyn Arana-Ortiz, Vice Chair; Zamawa Arenas; James Carroll; Donna M. DePrisco;
Carol Fulp; Berthé M. Gaines; Paul A. La Camera
President
Amy E. Ryan
Clerk of the Board
Jamie McGlone/eh

 

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Trustees of the Public Library of the City of Boston
Meeting of the Corporation and Administrative Agency
Monday, June 21, 2010 at 3 p.m.

Rabb Lecture Hall, Concourse Level, Johnson Building
700 Boylston Street, Boston MA
Minutes

The 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 Monday, June 21, 2010 at 3 p.m.

Present at the meeting were: Trustees Evelyn Arana-Ortiz, Zamawa Arenas, James Carroll, Paul A. La Camera, and Jeffrey B. Rudman. Honorable Boston City Councilors Ayanna Pressley, Felix G. Arroyo, John M. Tobin, Jr., Maureen E. Feeney, Michael P. Ross, and Stephen J. Murphy and also the Honorable State Representatives Willie Mae Allen, Byron Rushing, Linda Dorcena Forry, and Martha Walz were in attendance. Absent from the meeting were Board members Trustees Donna M. DePrisco, Carol Fulp and Berthé M. Gaines.

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; Henry Luthin, Esq., City of Boston Law Department; Jennifer Cruickshank, State Relations, Department of Intergovernmental Relations, City of Boston; 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; David J. Vieira, President, City Wide Friends of the Boston Public Library; Don Haber, Co-chair, Friends of Jamaica Plain Branch; Dale Patterson, Manager of Development Communications, Boston Public Library Foundation; Koren Stembridge, Director, Partnerships and Communications; Mary Flaherty, Human Resources Manager; Ruth Kowal, Director, Administration and Finance; Sean Nelson, Chief Financial Officer; David Leonard, Chief Technology Officer; Christine Schonhart, Neighborhood Services Manager; Gina Perille, Communications Manager; Jim Meade, Manager of Library Buildings; Beth Prindle, Manager of Education, Interpretation, and Outreach; Elissa Cadillic, President, AFSCME, Local 1526, Council 93; Karen Shafts, Chief Steward, PSA/CWA, Local 1333; approximately 150 members of the public; and Jamie McGlone, Clerk of the Board.

Chairman Jeffrey B. Rudman presided.

Chairman Jeffrey B. Rudman welcomed the attendees and outlined the procedures for the meeting noting that there would be an opportunity for public comment at the end of the meeting.

The Chairman addressed the first item on the order of business pertaining to the review and approval of the Minutes of the Trustees Regular and Annual Meetings held on May 11, 2010. Following discussion, on a motion duly made and seconded, the Minutes of the Trustees Regular and Annual Meetings held on April May 11, 2010 were approved and subsequently posted on the BPL website at www.bpl.org.

President Amy E. Ryan, in her report to the Trustees, announced that the Boston Public Library has received some very good news on the financial front noting that the City of Boston's resubmitted FY11 budget has precipitated the adjustment to reflect postponing the closures of the four branch libraries and to continue the community process.

President Ryan underscored that the City of Boston and the Boston Public Library officials are committed to keeping these buildings open and accessible to the community and this extension allows for more time to plan, in partnership with neighborhood residents, how best to deliver library services in the affected communities beyond the walls of the library.

The President noted that the community outreach process will continue and the library is confident that a re-purpose for these facilities will be found as each neighborhood will have its own timeline for closure. Further, the City will meet and bargain with both unions to discuss the impact of these branch closures so these branches will remain open this summer.

Following discussion, on a motion duly made and seconded, and on the recommendation of President Ryan, it was

VOTED: "to amend the Boston Public Library FY11 Operating Budget request to include an adjustment from the City of Boston to reflect the postponement of the closures of the four branches to continue the community process to: 1) address the re-purpose of the buildings to keep them open and accessible to the community; 2) continue to plan, in partnership with neighborhood residents, how best to deliver library services in the affected communities beyond the walls of the library"

President Ryan provided a review and update on the proposed FY11 Operating Budget reflecting a time of serious change for the BPL systemwide. The library is proceeding ahead with the discussions about service consolidations and the elimination of up to 68 positions at the Central Library.

The President welcomed and introduced Ms. Jennifer Cruickshank, State Relations, Department of Intergovernmental Relations, Office of Mayor Thomas M. Menino for an update on the State budget amendments pertaining to the Boston Public Library.

Ms. Cruickshank reported the FY11 state budget process remains very fluid and the library amendments have been referred to a legislative conference committee to reconcile the differences between the budget versions that were passed by the House and the Senate. These amendments propose withdrawing state funding to the Boston Public Library totaling $2.4 million unless the City of Boston "funds and maintains operations for all branch libraries in service as of January 1, 2010".

The conference committee is working diligently toward the goal of reaching a resolution and issuing a report this week in anticipation of completing its work by the end of the fiscal year on June 30, 2010.

The Chairman noted that a Special Meeting of the Trustees would be scheduled immediately following the release of the conference committee report in the event the amendments denying the BPL $2.4 million pass and is not vetoed by the Governor to assess the consequences on library operations for FY11.

President Ryan updated the Board on the BPL budget outreach and public engagement initiatives undertaken since January 2010 including seven Trustees Meetings, five Community Meetings, online moderated community discussions, the creation of public information resources, as well as other community sessions.

The President underscored many thoughtful ideas and suggestions have come out of the process and the library looks forward to honoring the public's participation and further engaging the community on moving the library forward.

Ms. Christine Schonhart, Neighborhood Services Manager, reported on the outreach initiatives and services in the neighborhoods slated for branch closures in light of the good news that the timeline of the closings has been extended that will provide the opportunity to engage the public on an extended timeline and to identify adaptive uses for the facilities.

Ms. Schonhart recalled that the Trustees-approved budget for FY11 keeps 22 branches open at full hours, closes four branches, and includes a commitment to provide outreach services to those four affected neighborhoods.

In response to discussions with library users, staff, and task force meetings in the neighborhoods, the resources and services that will be provided include books, readings, children's storytimes, computers, access, and collections that are responsive to the community.

While still early in the process, the library welcomes ideas and suggestions for future collaborations and the timeline for the outreach services will depend on the neighborhoods and the organizations the library is partnering with.

Ms. Schonhart recalled at the last Trustees Meeting the Board approved the one-time use of trust funds for neighborhood outreach initiatives and the future plans for those funds will be reported on at the fall meeting after an extended community process.

Some examples of the services that have been discussed at the community task force meetings include: book collections on permanent loan; locations for homework help with adult oversight; book deposits at community centers, schools, and housing developments; story times at nearby branches, community centers, and other locations where children gather.

The BPL has received a $500,000 grant from the federal stimulus program that will provide for 10 laptop computers at each branch library, computer training for all ages in both Spanish and English, and permanent computer training labs at two branch locations and at the Central Library.

Ms. Schonhart welcomed public input on the future delivery of neighborhood outreach initiatives including participation on the community task forces established in the neighborhoods affected by the branch closures via email at feedback@bpl.org to extend the process and get more feedback from the community on the services they value.

President Ryan provided background information on the conveyance of the Charlestown Service Building, 374-398 Bunker Hill Street, Charlestown, MA from the Trustees of the Public Library of the City of Boston to the City of Boston, in accordance with an acceptance vote from the Boston City Council, which transferred the property to the Public Facilities Commission on March 3, 2010, and the Deed has been fully recorded at the Suffolk County Registry of Deeds.

President Ryan updated the Board on three McKim Building space allocation changes that will be undertaken over the next several months that are going to be wonderful for the public.

The Elliott Room, McKim 2nd floor, currently housing the public access computers area adjacent to the Washington Room, would be designated an exhibit space to tell the story of the Boston Public Library as the nation's first municipally funded public library in 1848, which is being developed under the leadership of Ms. Beth Prindle, Exhibitions Manager and highlights the architecture, artwork, resources and services of the BPL.

The Changing Exhibitions Room, McKim 1st floor, would be officially dedicated to showcasing the Boston Public Library treasures and designed as a permanent exhibit space for BPL and BPL partners-generated exhibits. The current exhibit entitled Away We Go! Vintage Travel Posters has had tremendous response with over 13,000 visitors in the past month and future exhibits would be designed for high traffic volume attendance. The exhibition of BPL treasures in the Johnson Lobby would also continue for the foreseeable future in light of the positive response from the public and the media.

The Norman B. Leventhal Map Center would be relocated to the McKim 1st floor in the area that currently houses the Microtext Department and overlooks the Courtyard honoring the commitment made several years ago to provide a permanent space for the Map Center for exhibits, storage of the collection, research and staff offices.

The President noted the Map Center was recently awarded a $275,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities to catalog, preserve and digitize 2200 rare and historic maps under the leadership of Ms. Jan Spitz, Executive Director, Norman B. Leventhal Map Center.

President Ryan reported on two trust fund bequests as requested at the last Trustees Meeting on May 11, 2010 pertaining to the Estates of Pasquale J. Grillo, Jr. and Esther M. Engelman and acknowledged their generosity to the Boston Public Library.

Estate of Pasquale J. Grillo, Jr. — Pasquale "Pat" Grillo, Jr., a veteran and former telephone company employee, was a 35-year patron of the Boston Public Library's Copley Square Library. During his visits to the BPL, Pat particularly enjoyed movie nights and socializing with friends, patrons, and staff that he met over the years.

He was particularly concerned with the plight of the less fortunate citizens that visited the BPL. Pat's nephew, Robert Barsamian, hopes that his bequest – while unrestricted – may be able to benefit those patrons that are most in need. Mr. Barsamian also requested that his uncle's gift be publicly acknowledged. The bequest from the estate of Pasquale J. Grillo, Jr., totaled $86,724.34.

Estate of Esther M. Engelman: Esther M. Engelman was born in Boston in 1921 and grew up in Brookline. She was educated at Simmons College and graduated with honors in 1942. Mrs. Engelman's love of writing was central to her life and career.

After college, Mrs. Engelman moved to New York City where she was employed as an editor and a writer for various newspapers and news wire services, including both the Associated Press and United Press International. She later finished her career as a book manuscript editor. Mrs. Engelman did not have any children and died in New York City in 2009. The bequest from the estate of Esther M. Engelman totaled $150,000.

Chairman Rudman invited public comment from twenty-eight individuals who signed the Public Comment Session sheet to speak for two minutes each along with members of the Boston City Council and State Legislature. The highlights of the public suggestions and discussions are summarized as follows:

  • Dismay expressed by the State Legislators pertaining to the Board's decision today to postpone the closure of four branch libraries while expecting a vote to rescind the vote taken on April 9, 2010 and begin a new process with community involvement towards keeping all branch libraries open
  • Expressed disappointment of the decision announced today to delay the closures of the branches to have a more orderly process for closure while the State Legislative delegation is advocating in the budget amendments filed to not close branch libraries or layoff staff at the Copley Library but to plan for success moving forward
  • The BPL is facing an incremental shortfall of $1.6 million for FY11 for the branches and the Board would not close any branch in FY11 if the funds were provided by the State and the library receives the $2.4 million being proposed for withdrawal in the State amendments
  • The Board's relationship with the State Legislature was found lacking coupled with ineffective lobbying efforts and urged critical advocacy outreach efforts toward re-building relationships
  • Concern was noted for the continuity of library staff in the branches that would be adversely affected and change throughout the library system if the four branches are closed and the proposed cuts and layoffs are implemented
  • Expressed support for keeping Washington Village Branch open in light of its historical success in providing critical educational resources for children and immigrants
  • Poem written and recited on the vital role of libraries in the search for knowledge which are the only public institutions accessible to all and our common ground in the community
  • Concern was expressed regarding the elimination of public and support positions and the consolidation of departments at the Central Library and their adverse impact on the future delivery of research library services for the citizens of Boston
  • Concern was noted for the future access of library services and resources in the Orient Heights area particularly for children and the elderly and suggested keeping the branch open until a new branch is built in East Boston
  • In light of branch closings and staff layoffs, the question asked was "Are maps more important than the staff?" given the successful fundraising efforts for the Map Center and suggested focusing on fundraising efforts to keeping the branches open and saving jobs
  • Advocated strongly for keeping both the Orient Heights and East Boston Branches open noting East Boston's historical significance of being the first branch library and the outstanding services being provided at Orient Heights through fundraising efforts
  • Expressed the postponement of branch closures is not cause for celebration given that every neighborhood should have their own branch permanently calling for community input regarding the proposed changes at the Central Library that will affect the branch system and the impending cuts should be shared across the board including management
  • Implored City and State elected Officials to find a way to keep all the branches open and fully functioning in light of today's news that $1.6 million is the budget gap needed to keep all branch facilities open for FY11
  • On behalf of the Friends of the Faneuil Branch pleaded with the Board to reconsider their decision and save the Faneuil Branch Library and all BPL branch libraries
  • The City-wide Friends representative recalled the subject of the future of the four branch facilities slated for closure was raised at the Trustees Meetings held in February, March, April, and May and commended the Mayor and the Board for postponing the closings to address the re-purposing of the building and "accepted the reset button" to continue the discussions with the community, staff and leadership of the library
  • Underscored the critical importance of and role of lobbying on behalf of the library and the need to establish a better relationship with elected officials on both federal and state level to garner financial support for the library
  • Requested an inventory of library resources be taken including the offsite collections that include the research collections to gain an understanding of the resources held at the BPL
  • Advocated as a Friend of the Lower Mills Library to save the branch for the children and elderly residents who use the resources and services frequently and would be deprived of library services
  • Noted the last inventory of resources and shelf reading of the research collection was held in 1969 and in light of the materials deteriorating called for the need to catalog and digitize the research collections to make them accessible to all forever
  • Expressed concern on the impending layoffs at the Central Library and its impact on the future delivery of resources services to the community
  • Observed the state Legislature gutting the library budget was the beginning of the fiscal crisis and noted the critical reports shared by frontline staff are a signal that the status quo of the BPL is not good enough and therefore voted to close the four branches as opposed to gutting the entire branch system coupled with the responsibility to adapt with technology to the information revolution otherwise we fail our children, the city and our future
  • City Council President acknowledged the Board's decision to postpone the closings responds to the letter signed by nine members sent to the Board in April for the need to extend the process and allow residents in the affected communities to participate in the process of the future delivery of library services
  • City Council President also offered to take another look at the library's FY11 budget at the next meeting of the City Council in light of the remaining $1.6 million budget gap
  • Underscored public libraries keep our communities healthy and a systematic impact adversely would be felt at every level if one branch library is closed especially in a down economy and in some instances disproportionately
  • Advocated on behalf of the Fanueil Branch Library to reconsider its future closure and suggested the Board embark on a fundraising campaign and identify other sources of funding to save all the branches
  • Urged the Board to keep the Faneuil Branch open because there are no other public gathering places in the neighborhood that fosters lifelong leaning and the love of reading for the citizens of Boston and especially children
  • Spoke on behalf of the Washington Village Library to reconsider its closings in light of its location in a public housing development and service to some of the most vulnerable residents of the City that provides a safe haven for children
  • Urged the Board to delay permanently closing of any branch libraries and the undertaking of an aggressive advocacy and fundraising campaign in concert with the community
  • Personally offered services to lobby the State House to seek full funding of the Boston Public Library
  • Spoke on the behalf of a Chinatown Branch Library which was closed in the 1950s and remains committed to having a permanent branch library in the community
  • Urged the Board and the library to embrace and take advantage of all the good will that has been generated by this extended budget process and channel the passionate community energy into a fundraising effort to maintain full library services

There being no other business, the meeting of the Corporation and Administrative Agency adjourned at 5:35 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,


Clerk of the Board

 

 

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