Press Room

Search for the Next Boston Public Library President

The Boston Public Library Board of Trustees voted unanimously to extend an offer of employment for the position of BPL President to Interim President David Leonard on Tuesday, June 14. 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.

David Leonard held the Interim President role at the BPL since July 2015, during which time he oversaw 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 that past year included 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 July 2015, he was the Director of Administration and Technology  (a position he held concurrently with the Interim President role). 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.

The BPL Presidential Search Committee worked closely with Executive Search Firm Spencer Stuart on identifying candidates for the position. Read Search Committee Chair, John Palfrey’s overview of the process here. Read the job description here.

About the BPL Presidential Search

In November 2015 Mayor Walsh announced the 15-member BPL Presidential Search Committee, chaired by John Palfrey, head of school at Philips Academy, Andover. Click here for a full list of Search Committee members.

Seven Public Listening Sessions have been held with the BPL Presidential Search Committee at branches across the system for the community to share their thoughts on what qualities they believe the next leader of the BPL should have. Meetings have been held at the following dates and times:

  • Tuesday, November 10 at 3 p.m. – Mattapan Branch, 1350 Blue Hill Avenue
  • Monday, November 30 at 6:30 p.m. – Brighton Branch, 40 Academy Hill Rd
  • Saturday, December 12 at 9:00 a.m. – Central Library in Copley Square, Commonwealth Salon, 700 Boylston St
  • Thursday, January 21 6:30 p.m. – Roslindale Branch, 4246 Washington Street
  • Monday, February 1 at 6:30 p.m. –  East Boston Branch, 365 Bremen Street
  • Thursday, February 11 at 6:30 p.m. – Lower Mills Branch, 27 Richmond Street
  • Tuesday, February 16 at 1 p.m. – Central Library in Copley Square, Commonwealth Salon, 700 Boylston St

Links to press releases about the search:

6/14/16 –Boston Public Library Board of Trustees Offer Presidential Role to David Leonard

6/10/16 –Boston Public Library Board of Trustees Call Special Meeting in BPL Presidential Search

5/21/16 – Boston Public Library Board of Trustees Select BPL President

5/19/2016 – Boston Public Library Presidential Candidates Announced

5/16/2016 – Public Interview Date Set for Boston Public Library Presidential Candidate Finalists

2/19/2016 – Boston Public Library Presidential Search Continues

11/20/2015 – Boston Public Library Presidential Search Committee Announces Listening Sessions

11/10/2015 – Executive Search Firm Selected in Boston Public Library Presidential Search

11/5/2015 – Mayor Walsh Names Members of the Boston Public Library Presidential Search Committee

9/21/2015 – RFP for Executive Search Firm for Boston Public Library Presidential Search Now Available

9/09/2015 – Mayor Walsh Selects John Palfrey to Chair Boston Public Library Presidential Search Committee