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Conservation Team Begins Restoration of Treasured Artwork

Posted on January 14th, 2016 by in General
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Pierre Puvis de Chavannes' Philosophy PanelArtist Pierre Puvis de Chavannes’ Philosophy panel on the wall of the grand staircase in the McKim building at the Central Library in
Copley Square is undergoing restoration. The panel is one of eight allegorical murals that surround the Central Library’s grand staircase, each panel depicting an academic discipline, including Astronomy, History, Chemistry, Physics, Pastoral Poetry, Dramatic Poetry, and Epic Poetry.

Chavannes’ panels were painted on linen canvas in Paris and adhered to the library walls in 1895-96 using the “marouflage” technique, binding canvas to plaster support with an adhesive paste. Over time, the plaster and adhesive behind Philosophy has weakened, jeopardizing the panel.

Conservators, led by Gianfranco Pocobene, head of conservation at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum will stabilize the mural and detach it bit by bit until the entire canvas can be safely removed in one piece for relining onto a stable solid support and re-installation. This ambitious procedure has rarely been attempted on a marouflaged canvas, making the project complex and extraordinary.

The conservation team will work in the McKim building’s Cheverus Room for six to eight weeks to restore the work, addressing any areas of paint loss and lining the canvas with a rigid honeycomb support. The panel is expected to return to its location on the grand staircase in April 2016.

BPL is thrilled to further their commitment to preserve the institution’s treasures for future generations. This masterpiece – like every other artwork in the building and collection – is freely accessible to the public.

Author Picks: Tzivia Gover’s Top Ten Books to Inspire You

Posted on January 8th, 2016 by BPL News in General
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Tzivia Gover Author PicksTzivia Gover is the author of Joy in Every Moment: Mindful Exercises for Waking to the Wonders of Ordinary Life. She appears at the Central Library in Copley Square on Thursday, January 14, at 6 p.m. as part of the Boston Public Library’s Author Talk Series. In anticipation of her visit, we asked her for her picks for top inspirational books for the new year.

It wasn’t easy to come up with my “Ten Favorite Books to Inspire You”—but it was fun to give the question some thought. As a writer I have an entire village of favorite books that inspire me on my shelves. (I live in a relatively small space, otherwise I’d have an entire metropolis of favorites!) But which ones might inspire you as well? To narrow it down, I began by flipping through the pages of Joy in Every Moment, my latest book, which includes quotes from many of the books that have inspired me to live my best life—one moment at a time. Then I added a few more to come up with a highlights list that includes books of poetry, philosophy, self-help, psychology, and fiction. I hope you find something here to inspire you! Enjoy.

  1. Life of Pi, by Yann Martel: The fictional character, Piscine Molitor “Pi” Patel, inspired me to “choose the better story”—a reminder I turn to again and again.
  2. Leaves of Grass, by Walt Whitman: I re-read this book-length poem with a group of friends almost every year on the Fourth of July (the anniversary of the book’s publication). It takes us about two hours to read the entire poem aloud, and each time I feel inspired to try to do my part to live up to Whitman’s vision of true equality and democracy.
  3. Man’s Search for Meaning, by Viktor Frankl: A psychiatrist imprisoned in a concentration camp comes away recommitted to his belief that we can live positive and purposeful lives filled with meaning—no matter what the circumstances. Now that inspires me.
  4. You Can Heal Your Life, by Louise Hay: As a young woman, this classic self-help book inspired—and empowered—me, to wake up to the role our thoughts play in manifesting our lives.
  5. Memories, Dreams, Reflections, by Carl Jung: My dreams are a constant source of inspiration to me. Jung’s work helps me to explore them, trust them, and find meanings within them.
  6. The Life Changing-Magic of Tidying Up, by Marie Kondo: With joy as the organizing principle for getting one’s house in order, this quirky little book inspires me to experience my surroundings in a richer way!
  7. From Where You Dream, by Robert Olen Butler: This book inspires me to grab my pen, nearly as soon as I open my eyes in the morning—and start to write.
  8. Active Hope, by Joanna Macy and Chris Johnstone: I turn to this book again and again when I need to be inspired to live from my heart in a time of great challenges to our magnificent planet.
  9. Tiny Beautiful Things, by Cheryl Strayed: Pearls of wisdom wrapped in humor and humility and delivered with gloves-off, gut-wrenching candor—that’s what I call inspiration.
  10. Comfortable With Uncertainty, by Pema Chödrön: I have this book in paperback and in an MP3 file on my iPod so I can read or listen to it any time, including at 4 a.m. on nights when I can’t sleep. This book inspires me to face difficult situations and emotions with a loving heart.

May these books inspire you, too. Or better yet, may you be inspired to share with others your ten most inspiring books!

BPL’s Top Ten Borrowed Digital Magazines of 2015

Posted on December 18th, 2015 by BPL News in General

Zinio Top TenBoston Public’s Library’s Collection Development Team has compiled the top ten digital magazines borrowed in 2015 through Zinio, the BPL’s digital magazine service. Learn how to access the latest issues of these titles and over 5,000 more for a computer, tablet, and smartphone via

  1. The Economist
  2. The New Yorker
  3. OK! Magazine
  4. Us Weekly
  5. Newsweek
  6. Bon Appetit
  7. National Geographic Interactive
  8. Food Network Magazine
  9. Martha Stewart Living
  10. PC Magazine

In addition to magazines, BPL card holders can borrow other digital resources for mobile devices, including e-books, e-comics, audiobooks, and streaming movies, music, and television shows. Get started at

BPL’s Top Borrowed Books of 2015

Posted on December 11th, 2015 by BPL News in General
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CompassBoston Public Library’s Collection Development team is pleased to present the top ten borrowed books of 2015. Check out the BPL catalog to locate these and other books to read.

  1. The Girl on the Train
  2. All the Light We Cannot See
  3. The Boston Girl
  4. Gone Girl
  5. Yes Please
  6. The Goldfinch
  7. Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Hard Luck
  8. The Invention of Wings
  9. The Fault in Our Stars
  10. The Book Thief

Book lovers, additional 2015 top ten lists are also available:  Juvenile Books, Teen Books, E-books, Adult Fiction, and Adult Nonfiction.

Boston Public Library Presidential Search Committee Announces Additional Public Listening Sessions

Posted on December 10th, 2015 by BPL News in General

The Boston Public Library Presidential Search Committee today announced three additional public listening sessions scheduled for January and February 2016. The sessions on January 21, February 1, and February 11, will be an opportunity for the community to share their thoughts on the qualities the next leader of the Boston Public Library (BPL) should have, in an open and conversational forum. The next in the series of public listening sessions will be held this Saturday, December 12 at 9 a.m., in the Commonwealth Salon at Central Library, Copley Square.

“The more input received from the community, the more assured the Search Committee will be in selecting a BPL President who best meets the needs of library patrons and staff,” said John Palfrey, Chair of the BPL Presidential Search Committee. “The public has provided great feedback already, but more voices are always welcome. For those unable to attend a public listening session, please deliver your ideas via email to”

January and February listening sessions will be held on the following dates:

  • Thursday, January 21 at 6:30 p.m. – Roslindale Branch Library, 4246 Washington Street, Roslindale
  • Monday, February 1 at 6:30 p.m. – East Boston Branch Library, 365 Bremen Street, East Boston
  • Thursday, February 11 at 6:30 p.m. – Lower Mills Branch Library, 27 Richmond Street, Dorchester

The public is also encouraged to tweet comments at the Boston Public Library Twitter handle via @bplboston and at Presidential Search Committee Chair John Palfrey at @jpalfrey. In addition, comments may be submitted via

The Boston Public Library Presidential Search Committee is charged with locating, recruiting, interviewing, and evaluating top candidates from around the country for the position of BPL President in conjunction with executive search firm, Spencer Stuart.



Boston Public Library has a Central Library, twenty-four branches, map center, business library, and a website containing 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