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Category Archives: General

Boston Public Library Operational and Financial Assessment

Posted on June 3rd, 2015 by admin in General

The Boston Public Library’s Operational and Financial Assessment, called for by Mayor Walsh, and conducted by Chrysalis Management, LLC, is an independent operational and financial assessment to identify strengths and weaknesses of the Boston Public Library and to specify both short and long‐term practical improvement opportunities. Boston Public Library is one of several agencies and departments of the City of Boston that have undergone audits since January 2014. The audit launched on December 8, 2014, and began with senior team meetings and a review of key documents provided by the staff at the Boston Public Library, followed by in‐person interviews with staff from the BPL, City of Boston, and coordinating organizations such as the Leventhal Map Center, Digital Public Library of America, the Boston Public Library Foundation, President of the AFSCME union, and more. The final report was completed on May 1, 2015. The BPL will respond with an Action Plan based on the opportunities identified in the audit to be submitted to Mayor Walsh by June 19, 2015.

Statement from BPL President Amy Ryan on Meeting with Mayor Walsh

Posted on May 26th, 2015 by admin in General

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.”

Statements from Boston Public Library Leadership

Posted on May 20th, 2015 by admin in General

Below are statements from Boston Public Library President Amy E. Ryan and Jeffrey B. Rudman, Chair, Boston Public Library Board of Trustees, regarding missing pieces from BPL collections:


Boston Public Library recently discovered that an engraving by Albrecht Dürer and an etching by Rembrandt are missing from the Boston Public Library’s print collection. It is our hope that these two significant pieces have simply been misfiled. The curators and department staff are currently conducting a detailed search of the collection, and we are working with the Boston Police Department to determine if there is the possibility of criminal activity. As part of the search process, the BPL is undertaking an updated inventory of the more than 200,000 prints and drawings that make up the print collection, and will conduct an independent analysis of security protocols. While strict procedures for viewing items in the collection are in place, it is always a balance to fulfill our obligation to make collections open to the public to study and enjoy, while preserving them and keeping them secure.

The Boston Public Library has an extensive, impressive, and diverse collection of prints totaling more than 200,000 pieces. When I was notified that the two prints were missing and the seriousness of the situation, I contacted Police Commissioner Evans to ensure the Boston Police Department was aware. We are continuing to work closely with BPD during their investigation and are conducting an independent security review, and an item by item audit of our print collection. We are eager to bring this to a successful conclusion. It is important that all of the treasures of our collection can be made available to the public now and in the future, and that must be balanced with ensuring their security.


I have, and I know the Trustees have, endless confidence in President Ryan. We enjoy a strong relationship with her and have enjoyed that relationship continuously since she was appointed President of the Boston Public Library in October 2008.

The Trustees are proud of the Boston Public Library’s extraordinary print collection of more than 200,000 items and, while security is always a concern for institutions with valuable collections, at the Boston Public Library, not only are we mindful of that concern, but we pride ourselves on making our valuable treasures available to the public. That is how it should be. That is how it must be.

That said, we hope to use this incident as an opportunity to learn and to improve. When the facts are clear, we will make those improvements which the facts commend. We have already begun an independent item-by-item survey of the art we currently possess, and we have commissioned an independent audit of our security protocols.

In the interim, we are very grateful for the assistance of the Boston Police Department, who have been actively involved since President Ryan notified them on April 15 when she first knew exactly what artwork was missing. The Trustees deeply appreciate the efforts of President Ryan and her staff, both in their cooperation with the police and in doing all that they can to maximize the likelihood that we will recover this art.

Artwork information:

Adam and Eve by Albrecht Dürer (German, 1471-1528). Engraving, 1504. – estimate of the size is 8 in x 11 in

Self Portrait with Plumed Cap and Lowered Sabre by Rembrandt van Rijn (Dutch, 1606-1669). Etching, 1634 – estimate of the size is 5 in x 6 in

Central Library Renovation Profiles: Daniel and Dana van Ee, Children’s Library Users

Posted on May 15th, 2015 by admin in General
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Daniel and DanaFour-year-old Daniel and his mother Dana, originally from Liberia and now living in the Back Bay, are frequent visitors to the renovated Children’s Library.

What do you like about the Children’s Library? 

Dana: I love everything about it, from the natural light to the colors to the layout and design of the different areas. I like that we can move from playing with puppets to using computers to activities in the program room. There are separate areas for each age group, but the children are not restricted to those areas; I see older children in ToddleTown using the sensory wall to teach the younger ones about magnets or sounds, which is part of the learning process. I also appreciate how all the book shelves are at the kids’ eye-level. This is a magnificent example of what a children’s library can and should be.

Daniel: I like the puppets and the dress up clothes. My favorite puppets are the police officer and the doctor. I like to play builder with the construction outfit. I like how Miss Maggie and Miss Maija and Miss Laura and Miss May talk to us. And I like the computers here. I play soccer and Humpty Dumpty games on the computer. And I do puzzles and play with Mr. Bones on the computer who teaches you about inside your body.

What activities and programs do you like to attend in the Children’s Library?

Dana: We come to the Children’s Library about three times a week. All the librarians put such time and care into fine-tuning beautiful programs for children. We recently attended a wonderful presentation about Georgia O’Keeffe, where afterwards the children made 3D flowers and plants with craft materials. The Museum of Science also visited with a great program about the science behind magic tricks.

Daniel: I like coloring and painting. I made a colorful mask and do many projects. I like to make airplanes and cars with Legos. Sometimes I play with other kids and sometimes I play alone. I met my friend Gwyneth here. The Museum of Science showed us how to make a water balloon pop, and the water popped everywhere. I love the library. The library is awesome!

How does this renovation benefit children?

Dana: The Children’s Library is very welcoming. The open layout of the room means that caregivers and parents can watch their children but give them freedom to roam and explore. I find that many people of different backgrounds and from different Boston neighborhoods all frequent the Children’s Library. It’s a place where children of Boston and the world can learn and grow.

What are your favorite things to borrow from the library?

Dana: We love to check out books and audiobooks. We read together every night. Listening to audiobooks is something we can do together or Daniel can do independently.

What books would you recommend to other kids?

Daniel: The Velveteen Rabbit; We’re Going on a Bear Hunt; Guess How Much I Love You.

Dana: I Can Read with My Eyes Shut! by Dr. Seuss is a great life lesson book, and Martha Ann’s Quilt for Queen Victoria by Kyra E. Hicks is a true story about Liberia, England, and perseverance.

Central Library Renovation Profiles: Laura Koenig, Team Leader, Central Library Children’s Services

Posted on April 30th, 2015 by admin in General
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Laura talks about the work that went into the creation of the new Children’s Library.

What is your role in the Central Library Renovation?Laura Koenig

I was a member of the library team that coordinated with the architects on the design of the Children’s Library and Teen Central. I gathered feedback from children, teenagers, and families on what they would like to see in the space and brought those ideas to the design team. I also got to have a hand in all the design elements in the Children’s Library and Teen Central. I took a lead role in the creation of the sensory wall in the early literacy area ToddleTown, which serves not only babies and toddlers but also children on the autism spectrum. I spoke to people who work with children on the autism spectrum and combined that with my own knowledge of early literacy and brain development in young children to make suggestions about how the area could meet the needs of both communities.

What was one of your goals with the Johnson Level 2 Renovation?

My main goal was to create a first-class space for Boston’s children and teens. I also wanted the Children’s Library to benefit kids in all stages of development. There is a huge difference between how a two-year-old and a ten-year-old use a library, and during the design process, we put a lot of thought into how the Children’s Library could serve each age group. The early literacy area ToddleTown provides children ages three and under with a safe space to explore and move; the StoryScape area is for older children to engage in imaginative play with books, toys, costumes, and props; and the tween space gives tweens a place to hang out away from the younger kids, and it’s also where afterschool homework help takes place.

What is your favorite thing about the Johnson Level 2 renovation?

I love the Children’s Library as a whole; my very favorite part is ToddleTown, the early literacy area. It reflects our research into early brain development, and I like that it also addresses some of the needs of children on the autism spectrum. The Public Gardens-themed graphics with details from Make Way for Ducklings are charming, and it is home to one of our three lion cubs. The best part is that it has gotten very heavy use and is beloved by children and parents.

What are you most looking forward to about the next phase of the renovation?

I am excited about the new books and media area that will greet visitors when they enter the Johnson building. I also think the digital labs for adults will be a great addition. The digital lab in Teen Central has gotten a great response, and the next phase of the renovation will make that technology available for everyone.