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Act of Incorporation
Board of Trustees

ACTS of 1878. CHAPTER 114
(Incorporating Amendments of 1887, 1953, and 1995)

An Act to incorporate the Trustees of the Public Library of the City of Boston.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:

SECTION 1. (Incorporation of The Trustees) The Trustees of the Public Library of the City of Boston for the time being are hereby made a Corporation by the name of the Trustees of the Public Library of the City of Boston; and said trustees and their successors in office shall continue a body corporate for the purposes hereinafter set forth, with all the powers and privileges and subject to all the duties, restrictions and liabilities in the general laws relating to such corporations.

SECTION 2. (Authority of Corporation To Take and Hold Property: Limitation) Said corporation shall have the authority to take and hold real and personal estate to an amount not exceeding fifty million dollars, (amended in 2006) which may be given, granted, bequeathed or devised to it, and accepted by the Trustees for the benefit of the Public Library of the City of Boston or any branch library, or any purpose connected therewith. Money received by it shall be invested by the collector-treasurer of the city under the direction of the corporation; and all securities belonging to the corporation shall be placed in the custody of the collector-treasurer; provided, always, that both the principal and income thereof shall be invested and appropriated according to the terms of the donation, devise or bequest. But nothing herein contained shall restrict the corporation from bringing a petition in equity in the probate court or the supreme judicial court to be permitted to invest or appropriate the principal or income of funds or property held by the corporation in such manner as the court may by final decree authorize; and the corporation is hereby authorized to invest and appropriate in accordance with such decree.

SECTION 3. (Trustees of The Public Library ~ Appointment, Compensation, Etc.) The Trustees of the Public Library shall be nine in number, appointed by the Mayor for a term of five years. Two members shall be appointed for an initial term of one year; two members shall be appointed for an initial term of two years; two members shall be appointed for an initial term of three years; two members shall be appointed for an initial term of four years; and one member shall be appointed for an initial term of five years. Trustees shall serve until the expiration of their term and until their successors are qualified. Whenever any vacancy shall occur in said Board of Trustees by death, resignation or otherwise, said vacancy shall be filled by the appointment of another trustee who shall hold office for the unexpired term. Members of said Board of Trustees shall not receive any pecuniary compensation, and shall be deemed to be special municipal employees for the purposes of chapter 268A of the General Laws.

SECTION 4. (Organization of Board; Powers and Duties) The members of the board shall meet for organization on the first Monday of each May, and choose one of their number as president They shall have the power to make such rules and regulations relating to the public library and its branches, and its officers and servants, and to fix and enforce penalties for the violation of such rules and regulations, as they may deem expedient: provided, that the same shall not be inconsistent with the provisions of [law].

SECTION 5. (Responsibilities of Trustees) The said trustees shall have the general care and control of the central public library in said city and of all branches thereof, which have been or which may hereafter be established, together with the buildings and rooms containing the same, and the fixtures and furniture connected therewith, and also of the expenditures of the moneys appropriated there for.

The said Board of Trustees shall have full power and control of the design, construction, erection and maintenance of the central public library building to be erected in the city of Boston, and are hereby fully authorized and empowered to select and employ an architect or architects to design said building and supervise the construction and erection thereof, and a superintendent or superintendents to take charge of and approve the work; but work upon said building shall not be commenced until full general plans for the buildings shall have been prepared, and no specific work shall be commenced until the same shall have been duly advertised, proposals for doing such work shall have been received from responsible parties, and contracts have been entered into with satisfactory guarantees for their performance.

SECTION 6. (Librarian and Other Officers) The said board of trustees may appoint a superintendent or librarian with such assistants and subordinate officers as they may think necessary or expedient, and may remove the same, and fix their compensation: provided, that the amount thus paid shall not exceed the sum appropriated by the city council for that item of expense, and the income of any moneys which may lawfully be appropriated for the same purpose from funds or property held by said trustees under the provisions of this act.

SECTION 7. (Ordinances Pertaining To The Trustees) The city council shall have the power to pass such ordinances not inconsistent herewith or repugnant to other laws of the Commonwealth as to the duties and authority of said board as they may from time to time deem expedient.

SECTION 8. (Enactment of the Law) This act shall take effect upon its passage. {Approved April 4, 1878}

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