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Category Archives: General

BPL Bingo: A Chat with a Winner

Posted on September 18th, 2017 by awilliams in General

BingoThis summer, adults across Boston had as much fun with summer reading as kids, thanks to BPL Bingo. Adults picked up or downloaded a BPL Bingo card and read various books and completed activities for a chance to win prizes, including Duck Boat tickets, BPL totes, pens, and mugs, Barnes & Noble gift cards, and more. The Adams Street Branch winner, Boston Public Schools teacher Mary O’Brien, chats with us about her experience playing BPL Bingo.

How many books/activities did you read/do as part of BPL Bingo?
I completed roughly 20.

What was your favorite book you read?
The Little Old Lady Who Broke All the Rules by Catharina Ingelman-Sundberg – a librarian I work with gave it to me as a gift. It was very funny, and I listed it under the “recommended by a librarian” box.

BPLBingoDid you read a book/genre for BPL Bingo that you normally wouldn’t have read?
I read last year’s Newbery Award winner, The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill, to fulfill the childhood classic category. I am not a fan of fantasy, so I was surprised that I enjoyed it!

Which of the activities did you complete?
I visited several of the new branches of the BPL – East Boston, Mattapan, and Jamaica Plain.

What was your overall experience? Will you do it again next year?
Yes! I teach 2nd grade in BPS, so summer is my free time to read and catch up. I’m hoping next year has new reading categories to choose from!

Look out for BPL Bingo to come back next summer, with more great reading categories, activities, and prizes!

A Message from President David Leonard

Posted on February 10th, 2017 by rlavery in General

To the Boston Public Library Community:

During this time of uncertainty the Boston Public Library remains a constant for our community, as it has since its founding in 1848.

Dedicated to the advancement of learning, the Boston Public Library serves “to educate the people as the safeguard of order and liberty.” That conviction and our promise to be Free to All are carved into the façade of the McKim building at the Central Library in Copley Square and illustrate our commitment to providing all Bostonians, Massachusetts residents, and visitors with library services.

Each day when we open our doors we pledge to offer our communities reading and literacy services, stimulating and relevant programs, welcoming spaces, access to information and technology, and engagement with our cultural heritage.

Mayor Martin J. Walsh is resolute that Boston is and will remain a city of inclusion. The American Library Association and the Association of Research Libraries, to name two of the affiliations we hold close, have made affirming declarations of their commitments to equity, diversity, inclusion, and access. Boston Public Library and the 480+ staff members who serve our 26 locations are proud to stand with the Mayor and our library affiliates to reassert that we are Free to All and here to welcome everyone equally regardless of gender, race, national origin, sexual orientation, faith, or economic status.

Our library services must remain available to all, without fear of discrimination. We work to help our users navigate the world. Whether they seek Boston Public Library services for intellectual growth, self-inquiry, academic support, or a multitude of other reasons, we serve as advocates for personal advancement and for clarifying the pathways to that achievement. And we will always protect our users’ rights to privacy in so doing.

It is in times of uncertainty when we as an institution must reflect on and recommit to our founding principles—preserved in granite—that are the foundation from which every patron interaction originates.


David Leonard

President, Boston Public Library.



Boston Public Library Announces January-May 2017 Author Talks, Lowell Lecture Series

Posted on January 10th, 2017 by rlavery in General

bpl-brochure-author-talks-wint-spring-2017-r12digitalopt-1Boston Public Library’s January – May 2017 Author Talks and Lowell Lecture Series begin this month, featuring an array of talented writers and topics, highlighted by award-winning and bestselling authors Neil Gaiman and Colum McCann. Hear authors read from their books, purchase a copy and have it signed, and learn about the creative process that gets such magnificent stories told. The 2016 – 2017 Lowell Lectures Series commemorates William Shakespeare in the 400th anniversary year of his death and features transformative coming-of-age authors. All talks and lectures are free and open to the public, and are held at the Central Library in Copley Square, 700 Boylston St, Boston, MA 02116.

“We are extremely pleased to welcome so many notable authors in the first half of 2017 and are grateful to the Lowell Institute for their collaboration; we look forward to what promises to be a season of compelling and thoughtful talks and lectures,” said David Leonard, President of the Boston Public Library.

For full event descriptions, visit

Full schedule:

Tuesday, January 24 ● 6 p.m.

Commonwealth Salon, Central Library

Julie Rodriguez and Piotr Kaczmarek, author of Visualizing Financial Data


Thursday, January 26 ● 6 p.m.

Commonwealth Salon, Central Library

David Grinspoon, author of Earth in Human Hands: Shaping Our Planet’s Future


Thursday, February 2 ● 6 p.m.

Commonwealth Salon, Central Library

Twists, Turns, and Double Crosses: Boston Thriller Writers Hank Phillippi Ryan and Peter Swanson


Wednesday, February 22 ● 6 p.m.

Rabb Hall, Central Library

Christina Baker Kline, author of Piece of the World  


Tuesday, February 28 ● 6:30 p.m.

Commonwealth Salon, Central Library

Romance Fiction Panel with Eloisa James, Lauren Willig, and Sarah MacLean

Moderated by Caroline Linden, author of Six Degrees of Scandal


Thursday, March 2 ● 6 p.m.

Rabb Hall, Central Library

Lowell Lecture Series – Joseph Luzzi: From Twain to Toni Morrison—A Literary Journey through America


Monday, March 6 ● 6 p.m.

Rabb Hall, Central Library

Lowell Lecture Series – Nicole Galland: The Play’s the Thing—Shakespeare on Stage

Presented as part of All the City’s a Stage: A Season of Shakespeare at the Boston Public Library


Thursday, March 16 ● 6 p.m.

Rabb Hall, Central Library

Kate Clifford Larson: Harriet Tubman, Mary Surratt, and Rosemary Kennedy

Wednesday, March 22 ● 6 p.m.

Rabb Hall, Central Library

Lowell Lecture Series – Reginald Dwayne Betts: An Evening of Poetry


Tuesday, March 28 ● 6:30 p.m.

Commonwealth Salon, Central Library

Noam Maggor, author of Brahmin Capitalism: Frontiers of Wealth and Populism in America’s First Gilded Age


Tuesday, April 4 ● 6 p.m.
Rabb Hall, Central Library
Lowell Lecture Series – Neil Gaiman, author
Moderated by Jared Bowen, Executive Arts Editor for WGBH
*Requires event sign up


Thursday, April 6 ● 6 p.m.

Rabb Hall, Central Library

Lowell Lecture Series – Marjorie Garber: Desperately Seeking Shakespeare

Presented as part of All the City’s a Stage: A Season of Shakespeare at the Boston Public Library


Wednesday, April 12 ● 6 p.m.

Rabb Hall, Central Library

Colum McCann, author of Letters to a Young Writer


Wednesday, May 3 ● 6 p.m.

Rabb Hall, Central Library

Lowell Lecture Series – Ken Ludwig, author of How to Teach Your Children Shakespeare

Presented as part of All the City’s a Stage: A Season of Shakespeare at the Boston Public Library


Thursday, May 11 ● 6 p.m.

Commonwealth Salon, Central Library

Richard Taylor, author of Martha’s Vineyard: Race, Property, and the Power of Place


Tuesday, May 16 ● 6 p.m.

Commonwealth Salon, Central Library

Dr. James O’Connell, author of Stories from the Shadows: Reflections of a Street Doctor



The Lowell Institute has sponsored free public lectures and other educational programs throughout the Boston area since its founding in 1836 by businessman John Lowell, Jr. Over the decades thousands of members of the Boston community have attended Lowell lectures on topics ranging from science to the arts to humanities, from literature to politics to world affairs. The Lowell Institute’s mission since its inception—to inform the populace regardless of gender, race or economic status—has led to the establishment of other great Boston institutions, including the Harvard Extension School and WGBH. Today, the Institute continues to pioneer education and fund innovative projects such as the current expansion of the Lowell Institute School at Northeastern, which was recently awarded a “First in the World” grant for innovative educational programming by the Department of Education. To this day, the Lowell Institute continues to provide a wide variety of free public lectures and educational programming throughout the city of Boston.


Boston Public Library has a Central Library, twenty-four branches, map center, business library, and a website filled with digital content and services. Established in 1848, the Boston Public Library has pioneered public library service in America. It was the first large free municipal library in the United States, the first public library to lend books, the first to have a branch library, and the first to have a children’s room. Each year, the Boston Public Library hosts thousands of programs and serves millions of people. All of its programs and exhibitions are free and open to the public. At the Boston Public Library, books are just the beginning. To learn more, visit


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Brendan Kiely, Jason Reynolds, and Boston Public Library Visit DYS

Posted on October 28th, 2016 by awilliams in General


Brendan Kiely and Jason Reynolds speak youth in the DYS residential programs in Dorchester.

Boston Public Library’s partnership with the Massachusetts juvenile justice agency, the Department of Youth Services (DYS), is one of the key ways that BPL helps connect people of all ages and backgrounds with books that reflect their lived experiences. As part of these outreach efforts at DYS, on Wednesday, October 5th the Boston Public Library brought Brendan Kiely and Jason Reynolds, coauthors of the young adult book All American Boys, which examines police brutality from the perspective of two characters, to speak to youth in the DYS residential programs in Dorchester.

Kiely and Reynolds met with two groups of DYS youth to discuss how and why All American Boys, a 2016 Coretta Scott King Author Honor book, came to be. Jason Reynolds, recently short-listed for the National Book Award for Ghost, wrote about Rashad, a black teen who experiences violence at the hands of a cop. Kiely, author of The Last True Love Story and The Gospel of Winter, contributed the sections featuring Quinn, Rashad’s white classmate who witnesses the incident.

The book has roots in the authors’ own experiences and perspectives. When he was a teenager in Washington, D.C., Reynolds explained, he and three other black friends were pulled over by a cop for running a yellow light. When one of his friends opened the car door to hand the cop the registration, the cop pointed a gun at them. Four more cop cars pulled up, and the officers ordered the boys out of the car, handcuffed them, and searched the car. After the cops finally let them go, Reynolds and his friends never talked about the incident – for them, Reynolds said, there was nothing unusual about it. Kiely explained that growing up as a white kid in the Boston area, he didn’t have the same experiences as Reynolds, and he created Quinn because he wants people like him to understand that police encounters like the ones described in the book actually happen.

keily-and-reynolds-1The DYS youth had plenty of questions for the authors. In response to a boy who asked what it takes to write a book, Reynolds replied “Discipline.” Another asked how they chose the title for the book, and Kiely and Reynolds said that they wanted to show that the character of Rashad is as much of a typical American as Quinn. Reynolds added that his one objection to the title is that it leaves out girls; he said that women have always been the backbone of change in America, and the book’s strong female characters reflect that.

In addition to bringing authors to DYS, BPL’s teen and youth librarians make monthly trips to the residential facility to give book talks and make books available for the youth to borrow. The youth can also request books, and the librarian will bring them on the next visit.

“Our partnership with DYS helps connect the youth residents to books with characters and experiences they can identify with,” says Jessi Snow, Central Teen Services Team Leader. “Talks with such notable authors as Brendan Kiely and Jason Reynolds get DYS youth excited about reading.”

Other Boston Public Library outreach initiatives for children and teens include visits to Boston’s Children’s Hospital and Massachusetts General Hospital, where youth librarians read to patients and introduce teen parents to the BPL’s many free resources related to children and literacy.

Ted Reinstein and the “Feud of First Flight”

Posted on September 28th, 2016 by awilliams in General

img_0658“Feuds are fascinating, unless they are yours,” Ted Reinstein declared to the audience filling the Central Library in Copley Square’s Abbey Room on the night of September 27. Reinstein’s new book Wicked Pissed: New England’s Most Famous Feuds is a testament to this statement, covering everything from sports to politics to literary disputes in the region.

After touching on a variety of New England feuds, including the Red Sox vs. the Yankees, Breed’s Hill vs. Bunker Hill, and a fight between British author Rudyard Kipling and his brother-in-law that drove Kipling from Vermont, Reinstein delved into the “Feud of First Flight.”

Gustave Whitehead, a German immigrant, claimed to have flown a plane in August 1901 in Bridgeport, Connecticut, two years before the Wright brothers flew their plane. Whitehead later downplayed this assertion so as to not draw attention to his uncertain immigration status, and he died penniless. However, thirty years after Whitehead’s supposed flight, the story resurfaced thanks to lawyer and journalist Stella Randolph, who interviewed eye witnesses in Bridgeport, Connecticut, and wrote several subsequent articles and books about Whitehead.

In the 1980s, Reinstein explained, Connecticut asked the Smithsonian, owners of the Wright brothers’ flyer, to investigate Whitehead’s claim, but they refused; Whitehead supporters asserted that this was due to a contract between the Smithsonian and the Wright’s descendants agreeing to acknowledge no one other than the Wright brothers as having achieved first flight. In 1986, a Connecticut teacher built and flew a replica of Whitehead’s plane, garnering national attention for the Whitehead claim. A private detective also found a newspaper article from Bridgeport documenting Whitehead’s flight along with potential photographic evidence.

Reinstein said that in 2013, the aviation publication Jane’s published an opinion piece declaring Whitehead the first person to fly a plane, triggering Connecticut to pass a resolution that recognizes the state as first in flight. In response, Ohio, home of the Wright brothers, passed its own resolution rejecting Connecticut’s claim.

After relaying the story of the Feud of First Flight, Reinstein noted that his book also explores Edgar Allan Poe’s hatred of Boston.

Our next lecture, part of our Local and Family History Series, is Wednesday, September 28, at 6 p.m. in the Central Library’s Commonwealth Salon and features Stephen T. Moskey, author of Larz and Isabel Anderson: Wealth and Celebrity in the Gilded Age.