Press Room

Statement from BPL President Amy Ryan on Meeting with Mayor Walsh

by awilliams

Below is a statement from BPL President Amy Ryan on today’s meeting with Mayor Walsh.

“Today Jeff Rudman, Chair of the Board of Trustees at the Boston Public Library, and I met with Mayor Walsh to review the situation of the missing Durer engraving and the Rembrandt etching. A federal investigation into these two significant pieces of the BPL’s Print Collection is currently underway.

We recognize the balance of the Boston Public Library’s mission to make our collections available to the more than 3.7 million annual visitors to our system, while maintaining the security of our holdings.

I was notified of the missing Albrecht Durer engraving on Friday, April 10, and learned that it had been missing for almost a year, a time gap of significant concern which will be part of the administrative investigation.

I notified Chair Rudman the next day, on Saturday. Working with our legal team, I directed an immediate internal search which was launched on Monday, April 13. As a result of this search, staff discovered that a Rembrandt etching was also missing.

While still hopeful that the prints were misfiled, it was clear that the BPL may have been the victim of a crime.

On Wednesday, April 15, Jeff Rudman and I contacted the office of Mayor Walsh and Commissioner Evans. The Boston Police Department then launched a criminal investigation while we continued our internal search which is still ongoing.

BPL’s security protocols in allowing the public to view our special collections are equivalent to standards being used by institutions across the nation to protect their valuable materials. There is limited employee access to the print collection, and controlled public access.

We are beginning an independent review of these protocols now as part of BPL’s ongoing work to invest and update our security systems as standards and technology evolve.

The Boston Public Library is cooperating fully with the investigation by the Boston Police Department and the FBI, and staying in close contact with Mayor Walsh. We will be calling a special meeting of the Boston Public Library’s Board of Trustees in the coming days. It is our hope to see this situation resolved swiftly and thoroughly.”