Press Room

Category Archives: General

Boston Public Library Board of Trustees Select BPL President

Posted on May 21st, 2016 by BPL News in General
Tags:

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.

 

###

 

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.

 

###

Bee Panel at the Central Library in Copley Square

Posted on May 18th, 2016 by BPL News in General
Tags: , , , ,

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.

Public Interview Date Set for Boston Public Library Presidential Candidate Finalist

Posted on May 16th, 2016 by kmiller@private.bpl.org in General, Media Releases
Tags:

Candidates will be interviewed by BPL Board of Trustees; Public invited to attend and observe

 May 16, 2016 – Today, the Boston Public Library Presidential Search Committee announced they will present three candidates to be interviewed for the position of BPL President to the Library Board of Trustees on Saturday, May 21. 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 candidate finalists will be announced on Thursday, May 19.

“The Search Committee has conducted a transparent and open process, and I commend them for that,” said Mayor Martin J. Walsh. “Now the BPL Board of Trustees has the task of selecting the candidate who demonstrates the leadership most suited to head the Boston Public Library, one of the oldest library systems in the nation.”

“The BPL Presidential Search Committee has held seven public listening sessions since November and had numerous conversations with Library leadership, staff, friends groups, and other committed stakeholders to determine the qualities they wanted to see in the next BPL president,” said John Palfrey, Chair of the Presidential Search Committee. “Thanks to the assistance of executive search firm, Spencer Stuart, the committee was able to narrow down an expansive field of potential candidates to three very qualified applicants.”

“The BPL Board of Trustees is eager to hear from the candidates the Search Committee will present,” said Robert Gallery, Chair of the BPL Board of Trustees. “We’re preparing interview questions that will dive deep into each candidate’s interest in the position and how that individual’s experience aligns with the mission of the Boston Public Library.”

The three candidate interviews will be conducted in succession by the BPL Board of Trustees beginning at 8 a.m. on May 21. 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.

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.

Joseph Bagley and “A History of Boston in 50 Artifacts”

Posted on May 12th, 2016 by BPL News in General
Tags: , ,

image1Joseph Bagley, City Archaeologist of Boston, wrapped up the BPL’s spring Local and Family History Series with a discussion of his new book A History of Boston in 50 Artifacts. He treated the crowd of 100 people that filled the Central Library’s Commonwealth Salon to images of some of the artifacts highlighted in the book as well as the fascinating stories behind them.

Bagley was inspired to write A History of Boston in 50 Artifacts by the volume A History of the World in 100 Objects. When writing the book, he made sure to select artifacts that represent all time periods in Boston history, not just the Revolution, and Bostonians from all walks of life. For instance, he highlights a plate found in an excavation of the 1806 African Meeting House on Beacon Hill that was part of a matched set of shell-edged pearlware – a luxury in the 19th century. It was identified as belonging to Domingo Williams, a free black man who lived below the meeting house and ran a successful business as an event caterer for Boston’s upper classes.

Other artifacts serve as a gateway into the lives of fascinating Bostonians throughout history. For example, the oldest bowling ball in North America, dating from 1660-1715, was uncovered in the North End in a privy on the property of Katherine Nanny Naylor. Though lawn bowling was illegal in Puritan society, the wealthy Nanny Naylor may have openly bowled as a sign of her elite status. Illegal bowling was just the tip of the iceberg of ignoring convention for Nanny Naylor; she was also the first woman in Massachusetts to successfully sue for divorce from her abusive husband.

Other artifacts highlighted in Bagley’s book remind readers that the history of Boston did not begin with the Puritans. A native spear point found during an archaeological survey of Boston Common dates from 5,500-7,500 years ago, making it older than Stonehenge or the Egyptian pyramids. Bagley also explored the stories behind such objects as a comb found in the Paul Revere House, a whizzer toy that belonged to the son of wealthy merchant and slave dealer Charles Apthorp, an arrowhead made from a kettle traded to native people, and a page from a Hebrew prayer book found in the walls of the African Meeting House.

Bagley concluded with an overview of the City of Boston Archaeology program, including the current work at the Malcolm X House. He emphasized that the program is truly public, as anyone is welcome to help excavate the property. During a question and answer session that followed, the audience proved eager to learn more about archaeology in Boston.