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Mayor Martin J. Walsh and Boston Public Library Announce Grand Reopening Date for Central Library Renovation

Posted on June 20th, 2016 by BPL News in General

Mayor Walsh to attend celebration; all are welcome

Mayor Martin J. Walsh and Boston Public Library announced today that the grand reopening of the Central Library Renovation will take place Saturday, July 9, and will be commemorated with a 10:30 a.m. ribbon cutting. The grand reopening will celebrate the completion of the second and final phase of the renovation of the Central Library in Copley Square, which has been managed by the City of Boston’s Public Facilities Department. This second phase of work includes updates to the lower level, first floor, mezzanine, and the building exterior of the Johnson building, which opened in 1972. The Central Library Renovation puts the Boston Public Library on the cutting edge of library services – reshaping and redefining the patron experience at a 21st century urban public library.

The Central Library in Copley Square will be closed on Thursday, July 7, and Friday, July 8, to prepare and train staff in the updated spaces, and will reopen on Saturday, July 9, following the ribbon cutting.

“The reopening of the Central Library’s Johnson building ensures a bright future for all who seek educational opportunities through utilizing the services of this grand civic space,” said Mayor Walsh. “I am grateful to all who contributed to this project and I am confident library patrons and visitors will love the enhancements.”

Highlights of the second phase of the renovation include removal of the granite plinths that covered the Johnson building windows – reconnecting the building to the street, a revamped lecture hall for author talks and programming, a new innovation center, new Mac and Windows computers for the public computing area, a hi-tech community learning center, an enlarged Fiction section and new ways of book browsing, digital stacks to explore the BPL’s digitized collections, a state-of-the art Welcome Center, a digital imaging suite, and major landscape components along Boylston Street, including a civic table and new trees. The enterprise retail space at the corner of Boylston and Exeter Streets will feature The Newsfeed Café, opening mid-summer and operated by The Catered Affair, and a WGBH News satellite bureau and studio. Patrons will move seamlessly between the enterprise retail space and the Library.

The public can learn more about the Johnson building’s new features at www.bpl.org/bplreno and by following the BPL on Twitter (@bplboston), Facebook, and Instagram (@bplboston).

“This is one of the most significant milestones in Boston Public Library history; the Central Library Renovation has greatly expanded the offerings for people of all ages, as this library has truly been transformed,” said Chair of the Board of the Trustees of the Boston Public Library Robert E. Gallery.

“The goal of the renovation was to reinvent both our building and our library services as inviting, dynamic, and modern, to be responsive to twenty first century urban civic life and to strengthen the Central Library and its connection to the City,” said David Leonard, President of the Boston Public Library. “We are proud to welcome everyone, from near and far, to celebrate a new era of library service in Copley Square.”

The first phase of the renovation, which opened in February 2015, included a colorful Children’s Library with books and media, early literacy and story time space, a tween corner, and flexible program space; Teen Central, a distinctive and media-friendly space with books, digital lab, media lounge, a dedicated quiet zone, and homework and hangout booths; refreshed and reorganized nonfiction collections and reference services; and an adult reading area and workspace for individuals and groups.

The Central Library Renovation is a City of Boston capital project totaling $78 million. In addition to the City of Boston’s Public Facilities Department, the project team includes  PMA Consultants as the Owner’s Project Manager, Consigli Construction Co., Inc. is the contractor, and the project architect is William Rawn Associates, Architects, Inc.

 

About BOSTON PUBLIC LIBRARY
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 bpl.org.

 

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Boston Public Library Board of Trustees Offer Presidential Role to David Leonard

Posted on June 14th, 2016 by BPL News in General

Today the Boston Public Library Board of Trustees voted unanimously to extend an offer of employment for the position of BPL President to current Interim President David Leonard. The offer came during a special meeting of the Trustees to discuss the presidential search after San Jose City Librarian Jill Bourne declined the position last week.

“I am thrilled David Leonard is the new President of the Boston Public Library and look forward to seeing the BPL thrive under his continued leadership,” said Mayor Martin J. Walsh. “I am also extremely grateful to all involved in this process over the past year, including the Board of Trustees, Presidential Search Committee Chair John Palfrey and the committee members, and the community for their contributions and input.”

“The Board of Trustees and I have full confidence that the Boston Public Library has a bright future ahead with David Leonard as President; his leadership capabilities and vision over the past year have kept this great institution evolving and innovating, and we know that will continue for years to come,” said BPL Board of Trustees Chair Bob Gallery.

“I look forward to serving as President of the Boston Public Library and expanding on the many accomplishments of the last year,” said David Leonard, President of the BPL. “Extensive knowledge of the institution – its successes and its challenges – and strong working relationships with staff and stakeholders should enable me to be an effective steward and leader of the BPL. Thank you to Mayor Walsh and the Board of Trustees for their confidence and support in my leadership.”

David Leonard has held the Interim President role at the BPL since July 2015 during which time he has overseen the $78 million renovation of the Central Library in Copley Square opening in July 2016 and branch improvement projects, including the groundbreaking and ongoing construction of the Jamaica Plain Branch. His work in the past year includes strengthening relationships with stakeholder groups such as the Boston Public Library Foundation, the Associates of the Boston Public Library, and The Norman B. Leventhal Map Center; overseeing management of the second phase of the Print Collection Inventory, an item-by-item inventory of the BPL’s prints and chromolithographs; environmental improvements and mold remediation in the Rare Books Department; and preparation for the BPL’s Special Collections Assessment, which includes compiling a master list and priority ranking of 800 collections set to be assessed and inventoried.

Prior to Leonard’s appointment in 2015, he was the Director of Administration and Technology (a position he still holds concurrently). In his seven years at the BPL, Leonard has also served at various times as both the acting Director of Administration & Finance and separately as acting Chief Financial Officer. He was first hired as the Chief Technology Officer in 2009. Leonard recently began a PhD program in Library Information Science at Simmons College.

Prior to the Boston Public Library, Leonard initially pursued an academic career, transitioned to the non-profit sector and then spent ten years in the private IT consulting world in roles that spanned business development, management, and technology consulting, working on both strategic and tactical projects and services. Leonard holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Philosophy and Mathematics and a Master’s Degree in Philosophy from the University College Dublin. He originally came to Boston for post graduate work in the Philosophy doctoral program at Boston College.

Background on the BPL Presidential Search

In September 2015 Mayor Walsh selected John Palfrey, head of school at Philips Academy, Andover to lead the BPL Presidential Search process, and in November 2015 Mayor Walsh announced the 15-member BPL Presidential Search Committee.

Seven Public Listening Sessions were held with the BPL Presidential Search Committee at branches across the Library system for the community to share their thoughts on what qualities they believe the next leader of the BPL should have and to assist in the development of the presidential job description.

The BPL Presidential Search Committee worked closely with Executive Search Firm Spencer Stuart on identifying candidates for the position.

On Saturday, May 21, the Boston Public Library Board of Trustees voted to extend an offer of employment for President of the Boston Public Library to Jill Bourne, City Librarian for the San Jose Public Library. The decision was made following public interviews of Bourne and David Leonard, Interim President of the BPL, and deliberation amongst the Trustees during a public meeting at the Central Library in Copley Square. It was announced on Friday, June 10, that Jill Bourne declined the offer due to personal reasons.

About BOSTON PUBLIC LIBRARY
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 bpl.org.

 

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Boston Public Library Board of Trustees Select BPL President

Posted on May 21st, 2016 by BPL News in General
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May 21, 2016 – Today, the Boston Public Library Board of Trustees voted to extend an offer of employment for President of the Boston Public Library to Jill Bourne, City Librarian for the San Jose Public Library. The decision was made following public interviews of Bourne and David Leonard, Interim President of the BPL, and deliberation amongst the Trustees during a public meeting at the Central Library in Copley Square. A third finalist candidate, Andrea Sáenz, First Deputy Commissioner for the Chicago Public Library, withdrew from the interview process for personal reasons.

“During this time of deep transformation for libraries, having a president who has vision, is a strong manager, and an outstanding leader is necessary to ensuring the Boston Public Library remains one of the top urban library systems in the country,” said Mayor Walsh. “I applaud the Board of Trustees for their work in making this difficult decision between highly qualified candidates; and thank the Presidential Search Committee who volunteered their time to vet and interview numerous candidates.”

“On behalf of the Trustees of the Boston Public Library, it has been an honor to have had the opportunity to interview these talented individuals, and to select the next leader of the BPL. Jill Bourne brings new ideas, innovation, and deep experience in urban libraries to the role – from working as a children’s librarian to managing a library system,” said Robert Gallery, Chair of the BPL Board of Trustees. “The BPL is an important cultural asset in the City of Boston and a vital educational resource for residents of the city and the state, and we look forward to working with Jill to shape the future of this historic institution.”

David Leonard will continue to serve as Interim President of the BPL until contractual details with the selected candidate are finalized.

Mayor Walsh launched the search for the next BPL president in September 2015, when he appointed  John Palfrey, head of school at Phillips Academy and a former librarian, to chair the BPL Presidential Search Committee. In November, the 14-member Presidential Search Committee was formalized to locate, recruit, interview, and evaluate top candidates for the position. The Search Committee held seven public listening sessions for the community to share their thoughts on what qualities they believe the next leader of the BPL should have to inform the BPL president job description and candidate interviews.  The Committee also solicited comments via an email address and social media.

Executive search firm Spencer Stuart, contracted to assist with the search, contacted and reviewed approximately 215 individuals for the position, presenting 30 qualified prospects to the BPL Presidential Search Committee for evaluation. Of these, 25 candidates were approached by the BPL Presidential Search Committee, and seven had face to face interviews, narrowing down the field to three finalist candidates, including: Jill Bourne, City Librarian for the San José Public Library; David Leonard, Interim President of the Boston Public Library; and Andrea Sáenz, First Deputy Commissioner for the Chicago Public Library, who withdrew.

Jill Bourne bio:

Jill Bourne was appointed City Librarian for the San José Public Library (SJPL) in 2013, a system that includes 23 branch libraries and the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Library, operated in partnership with San José State University.

Jill’s first post in California was as Deputy City Librarian in San Francisco, which she held from 2006-2013. She began her professional career at the Seattle Public Library where she held several positions over nine years – children’s librarian, youth materials selector, head of the Central Library, and, finally, Assistant Director for Public Services.

Jill holds a bachelor’s degree in English from New York University and a master’s in Library and Information Science from the University of Washington.

About BOSTON PUBLIC LIBRARY

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 bpl.org.

 

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Boston Public Library Presidential Candidates Announced

Posted on May 19th, 2016 by BPL News in General

May 19, 2016 – On Saturday, May 21, the Boston Public Library Presidential Search Committee will present: Jill Bourne, City Librarian for the San José Public Library; David Leonard, Interim President of the Boston Public Library; and Andrea Sáenz, First Deputy Commissioner for the Chicago Public Library; to the Library Board of Trustees to be interviewed for the position of BPL President. The interviews are open to the public and will be held in the Commonwealth Salon at the Central Library in Copley Square beginning at 8 a.m.

The three candidate interviews will be conducted in succession by the BPL Board of Trustees. Each interview will be one hour and 15 minutes in length, followed by a brief break between interviews. At the conclusion of the three interviews, the Trustees will vote to extend an offer of employment as President of the Boston Public Library to the selected finalist.

The public is invited to observe the interviews and may submit suggested interview questions prior to the meeting via the email address SearchChair@bpl.org.

BPL Presidential Candidate Bios

Jill Bourne, City Librarian for the San José Public Library

Jill Bourne was appointed City Librarian for the San José Public Library (SJPL) in 2013, a system that includes 23 branch libraries and the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Library, operated in partnership with San José State University.

Jill’s first post in California was as Deputy City Librarian in San Francisco, which she held from 2006-2013. She began her professional career at the Seattle Public Library where she held several positions over nine years – children’s librarian, youth materials selector, head of the Central Library, and, finally, Assistant Director for Public Services.

Jill holds a bachelor’s degree in English from New York University and a master’s in Library and Information Science from the University of Washington.


David Leonard, Interim President of the Boston Public Library

David Leonard is the Interim President at the Boston Public Library. Prior to his appointment in 2015, he was the Director of Administration and Technology (a position he still holds concurrently). In his seven years at the BPL, David has also served at various times as both the acting Director of Administration & Finance and separately as acting Chief Financial Officer. He was first hired as the Chief Technology Officer in 2009. David recently began a PhD program in Library Information Science at Simmons College.

Prior to the Boston Public Library, David initially pursued an academic career, transitioned to the non-profit sector and then spent ten years in the private IT consulting world in roles that spanned business development, management and technology consulting, working on both strategic and tactical projects and services. David holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Philosophy and Mathematics and a Master’s Degree in Philosophy from the University College Dublin. He originally came to Boston for post graduate work in the Philosophy doctoral program at Boston College.


Andrea Sáenz, First Deputy Commissioner for the Chicago Public Library

Andrea Sáenz serves as First Deputy Commissioner for the Chicago Public Library, a citywide system of 80 neighborhood branches. Before joining the Library in 2012, Andrea served as chief of staff to Chicago Public Schools CEO. She was previously policy advisor to the Assistant Secretary of Vocational and Adult Education at the US Department of Education in Washington, DC and executive director of the Hispanic Alliance for Career Enhancement (HACE), a national organization working collaboratively with business and non-profit employers, universities and schools to increase Latinos’ access to and success in professional and management careers.

Andrea completed graduate studies as a fellow at the University of Pennsylvania Fels Institute of Government. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Latin American studies from Scripps College and a Master’s degree in government administration from the University of Pennsylvania. Andrea is from Quito, Ecuador and grew up in Los Angeles, California.

 

About BOSTON PUBLIC LIBRARY

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 bpl.org.

 

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Bee Panel at the Central Library in Copley Square

Posted on May 18th, 2016 by BPL News in General
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BeesBees were the theme for the final Boston Public Library Author Talk of the spring, with guests Olivia Messigner Carril, co-author of The Bees in Your Backyard: A Guide to North America’s Bees, and Thomas Seeley, author of Following the Wild Bees: The Craft and Science of Bee Hunting. The bee experts provided the audience with an overview of the different ways to observe and track the wild bees that live around us.

Seeley led off with an exploration of the art of bee hunting, which involves tracking bees to their nest through a process of luring and following them. To begin, a hunter catches a bee in a box designed specifically for bee hunting that contains a sugar water comb. When the bee is released it will return with its nest mates, allowing the bee hunter to see the “beeline,” or the direction in which the bees are flying. The hunter then moves further down the beeline with the box of bees, following the bees’ path as they again are released and return to the box with the food source. Eventually, the hunter will be able to follow them home to their nest. Seeley says the joy of bee hunting lies in observing the bees and locating their home. A bee hunter doesn’t have to be immersed in nature to go on a bee hunt; Seeley has conducted bee hunts everywhere from Harvard Yard to Central Park in New York City.

Messinger Carril followed with an overview of the wide variety of bee species – four thousand in the United States and Canada alone – and how to find and identify them. The solitary bee can make its home in everything from sand to pine cones and snail shells. Some bees even build beautiful nests out of flower petals. When encountering a wild bee, she said, an observer can use a camera phone to take pictures from a few different angles in order to identify the species later. To help illustrate the wide diversity of bees, she brought along a box of bee samples that showcased a range of bee types and sizes.

The authors concluded by taking questions from the engaged audience members who were eager to know more about bee populations and species. In response to one attendee’s question on how to support wild bees, Messinger Carril emphasized that it’s important to provide them with an undisturbed place to nest and to grow native plants that are not highly cultivated.

Thank you to all who attended our spring Author Talks. Boston Public Library’s Author Talks Series will return in the fall.