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Chavannes Mural Successfully Removed from Central Library’s Grand Staircase

Posted on February 9th, 2016 by BPL News in General

After weeks of careful preparation, conservators have detached the Central Library’s Chavannes’ Philosophy mural panel from its backing wall. The panel, one of eight Chavannes’ murals that surround the Central Library’s grand staircase, was originally adhered to the library walls in 1895-96 using the “marouflage” technique of binding canvas to plaster support with an adhesive paste. Over the years this adhesive weakened, making it necessary for conservators to remove the panel from its backing for repairs – an ambitious procedure that has rarely been attempted on marouflaged canvas.

In order to safely remove the panel, conservators Gianfranco Pocobene and Ian Hodkinson spent the first weeks of the project securing the mural surface with protective layers of rice paper, canvas, and a network of supportive wood braces. On Wednesday, February 3, the conservators cut away at the remaining adhesive and plaster behind it, succeeding in detaching the panel.

A team was at the ready to help lower the panel onto scaffolding and carry it upstairs to the Cheverus room, where it will undergo relining and restoration for the next six to eight weeks. The restored panel is expected to return to its location on the grand staircase in April 2016.

Boston Public Library Locations to Close at 5 p.m. Today

Posted on February 8th, 2016 by BPL News in General

Due to the inclement weather, all locations of the Boston Public Library will close today at 5 p.m. Please view the BPL calendar for the status of programs today. Visit to access BPL resources remotely.

WHERE: All locations of Boston Public Library

WHEN: February 8, 2016 at 5 p.m.



Boston Public Library’s Top Ten Books for Black History Month

Posted on February 3rd, 2016 by BPL News in General
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2016 low resIn honor of Black History month, Boston Public Library publishes the annual “Black Is” book list, a compilation of recent works by and about African Americans for adult readers. BPL staff have undertaken the difficult task of narrowing down the list of titles to bring you their top ten favorite books from 2016’s “Black Is” book list.



To view the full “Black Is” book list, download a PDF or pick up a copy at any Boston Public Library location.

Boston Public Library Celebrates Black History Month with Booklist, Programs

Posted on February 1st, 2016 by BPL News in Media Releases

blackis2016coverBoston Public Library honors Black History Month at locations throughout the city with a plethora of lectures, music celebrations, workshops, and crafts this February. The BPL published its annual “Black Is” booklist, a list of recent books concerning the African American experience compiled by staff members for all to enjoy. Categories of books include international and urban fiction, biography/memoir, expressions, and history and contemporary issues in nonfiction. Authors featured include Toni Morrison, Shonda Rimes, Whoopi Goldberg, and more. Copies of the booklist will be available at the Central Library and all branch locations this week.

The BPL also honors Black History Month through a variety of themed programming. Highlights include:

  • The Triumph! Black Military Unsung Heroes exhibition takes viewers through the rich history of how heroes contributed mightily to the history of our nation and secured the freedoms that, for many of them, were delayed over time. On display at the Grove Hall Branch, located at 41 Geneva Avenue in Dorchester, from Wednesday, February 3, through March 18.
  • Desiree Taylor takes audiences on an investigative journey through story into the Harlem Renaissance at the Charlestown, Uphams Corner, South Boston, and West Roxbury branches throughout the month of February.
  • Learn about an important African American inventor or innovator each week, beginning on Wednesday, February 3, at 4 p.m. at the Adams Street Branch, located at 690 Adams Street in Dorchester. For children and teens.
  • Roxbury’s own Valerie Stephens shares tales of freedom in a storytelling series based on the courageous actions of Americans during the American abolitionist movement and slavery. Thursday, February 4, at 6 p.m. at the Grove Hall Branch, located at 41 Geneva Avenue.
  • Children make music together featuring African American musicians on Saturday, February 6, at 11 a.m. in the Children’s Library at the Central Library in Copley Square, located at 700 Boylston Street.
  • Discover and access the BPL’s online resources to help enrich learning about African American history, life, and culture on Wednesday, February 10, at 2:30 p.m. at the Central Library in Copley Square, located at 700 Boylston Street.
  • A Black History Month film series take place at the Lower Mills Branch on Fridays throughout February at 27 Richmond Street and a film fest occurs on Thursday, February 11, from 12 to 7 p.m. at the Mattapan Branch, located at 1350 Blue Hill Avenue.
  • Youth make mobiles honoring Black History Month on Tuesday, February 23, at 4 p.m. at the West Roxbury Branch, located at 1961 Centre Street.
  • Listen to d’Allegro’s take on classic and inspirational tunes by African American artists on Thursday, February 25, at 6 p.m. at the Mattapan Branch, located at 1350 Blue Hill Avenue.
  • The Grove Hall Branch holds the Kevin Harris Project jazz concert on Saturday, February 27, at 2 p.m.

Read more »

Sari Mauro from the Congregational Library and Archives Kicks Off the Winter/Spring Local and Family History Lecture Series

Posted on January 28th, 2016 by BPL News in General

Sari MauroSari Mauro, Digital Archivist for the Congregational Library and Archives (CLA), paid a visit to the Central Library in Copley Square on Wednesday night to share tips on navigating the CLA’s records for the audience of amateur genealogists and researchers.

The CLA, located at 14 Beacon Street, was established in 1853 and houses materials documenting the history and records of the Congregational Church, a religious tradition descended from Puritanism. However, the CLA’s collections are not just for those seeking information on the history of New England’s churches; as Mauro noted, because colonial churches kept track of all town business, the CLA is a great resource for genealogists trying to track down an ancestor’s birth, death, or marriage dates as well as property and tax information.

To help the audience with their research, Mauro provided tips for navigating the CLA’s archives, both online and in-person. She reviewed key denominational search terms and examined how to best use those terms when locating materials. She also explored digital resources that genealogists can access remotely, including the CLA catalog, over 18,000 digitized church records as part of the New England’s Hidden Histories project, the obituary database, and more. Mauro also pointed audiences to a digitized Spider-Man comic book, in which the super hero travels back in time to fight Puritan and Salem witch trial judge Cotton Mather.

The Local and Family History Lecture Series runs through May and features lectures of interest to both amateur genealogists and local historians. See the full schedule via