Spacer graphic Boston Public Library
Trustees' Collections Committee
Board of Trustees

Agenda for the May 4, 2011 Meeting

Agenda for Meeting
Trustees’ Collections Committee
Wednesday, May 4, 2011
12:00pm (Luncheon) – 1:30pm
Trustees' Room, Johnson Building, 3rd Floor
700 Boylston Street, Boston MA
Mr. Brian Clancy, Chair


  1. Welcome: Mr. Brian Clancy
  2. Review and Approval of Minutes for the Collections Committee Meeting on March 2, 2011
    Mr. Brian Clancy
  3. Collection Development Policy (draft)
    Ms. Laura Irmscher
  4. Collections of Distinction
    Ms. Susan Glover
  5. Audubon Update
    Ms. Susan Glover, Mr. Brian Clancy
  6. Exhibition Update: Civil War, Johnson Building Lobby, Changing Exhibits, C&G Partners
    Ms. Beth Prindle
  7. Print Department Acquisitions Review
    Ms Susan Glover
  8. FY2013 Meeting Schedule
  9. Adjournment
    Mr. Brian Clancy


Minutes of the May 4, 2011 Meeting

Minutes of Meeting
Trustees’ Collections Committee

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

A meeting of the Boston Public Library Collections Committee was held at the Boston Public Library, Trustees Room, Johnson Building, 3rd Floor, 700 Boylston Street, Boston, MA on Thursday, May 5, 2011 at 12 Noon.

Present at the meeting were: Committee Chairman Brian Clancy, Committee Members: Ms. Elizabeth B. “Lillie” Johnson, Ms. Mary Pfeifer Lentz, Mr. Mike Ewald, Mr. Rishi Bhalerao, BPL President Amy E. Ryan; BPL Keeper of Special Collections, Ms. Susan Glover and Special Collections Rare Book Conservator, Mr. Stewart Walker; Boston Public Library Associates Executive Director, Ms. Betsy Hall; Boston Public Library Foundation Executive Director Mr. David McKay; Clerk of the Board Ms. Nancy Grilk, and several Boston Public Library staff.

Absent from the meeting were: Mr. Jarvis P. Kellogg, Esq., Ms. Joan D. Wheeler, Ms. Judith Tick, Mr. Michael B. Keating, Esq., Mrs. Estrellita Karsh, Ms. Muffy Glauber, Mr. Robert Pemberton, Mr. Ronald Grim, Mr. Seth I. Rosen, and Ms. Susan Abbott, Esq.

Chairman Brian Clancy presided. Chairman Clancy introduced and welcomed Ms. Nancy Grilk the new Clerk of the Board, and Mr. David McKay, the new Executive Director of the Boston Public Library Foundation. Chairman Clancy also noted Boston Public Library Associates Director, Ms. Betsy Hall who has been a part of the Collections Committee from its creation, will be retiring from her position at the end of June. Chairman Clancy thanked Ms. Hall for her valuable leadership, input and wit. He further noted that the Boston Public Library Associates have played an enormous role in conserving and creating computer access, driving exhibitions and raising money for collections. Chairman Clancy expressed sadness at the recent death of William O. Taylor and recognized Mr. Taylor’s 16-years of leadership at the Boston Public Library as a Trustee, a founding member of the Boston Public Library Foundation and the founding Chair of the Collections Committee.

Chairman Clancy addressed the next item on the order of business pertaining to the approval of the Minutes for the Boston Public Library Collections Committee Meeting held on March 2, 2011. On a motion made and duly seconded, the Minutes of the Boston Public Library Collections Committee meeting held on March 2, 2011 were approved with the inclusion two clarifications then made, and subsequently posted on the Boston Public Library website at

The Chairman then moved to reviewing of the draft Collection Development Policy and called upon Ms. Laura Irmscher, Collection Development Manager to provide background. The draft policy is a collaborative project with multi-departmental input and adheres to the Boston Public Library Compass: Principles for Excellence recently adopted by the Trustees. The new draft policy is more concise to bridge and bring together the circulating and research collection as the Collections of the Boston Public Library. This policy document when finalized will direct the decision making about collection development, day to day operations, and how the Boston Public Library’s collections adapt to technological change.

Ms. Irmscher then identified areas in the new policy that reflect change from the current policy which include: Purpose and background; selection process and criteria; electronic resources; intellectual freedom; cataloguing and accessing materials in core languages; digitization of materials; research collection; deselection and collection maintenance including the Boston Public Library Collections Committee role in the process and legal restrictions; gifts; and intellectual freedom.

Discussion followed. Chairman Clancy underscored the need to continue to focus on the Boston Public Library’s core traditional strengths as well to adapt to changing demographics of the population, and to reflect the commitment to relevance to the communities served at the local and global levels. Boston Public Library Collection Committee (Committee) members stressed that the policy highlights the public process of deselection/deaccession. It was noted that Committee meetings fall under the Open Meeting Law and are publicly noticed; furthermore, any deselection decision in excess of $50,000 is required to go before the Trustees for a vote. Chairman Clancy recommended the policy previously adopted by the Trustees to seek dedicated endowments for collection management of large gifts be included in this policy. This recommendation will be circulated to the Committee for consideration for inclusion in the policy. Chairman Clancy also suggested that the Committee consider providing a written annual report to the Trustees to further augment transparency.

Chairman Clancy thanked Ms. Irmscher for her excellent presentation. Ms. Irmscher will incorporate the changes that were suggested by the Committee and a new draft Collection Development Policy will be brought to the Committee for a vote, and if approved, would then go to the Board of Trustees for approval at the September Board meeting.

Chairman Clancy called on Susan Glover, Keeper of Special Collections to report on the Collections of Distinction project and the library’s commitment to continue building on the areas identified as Collections of Distinction. Ms. Glover agreed to provide a more detailed update on the subcommittee’s work at the fall Committee meeting.

Chairman Clancy turned to the next agenda item - the Audubon update. The library is actively seeking two Audubon prints that will complete the Boston Public Library magnificent Audubon Birds of America copy. The Boston Public Library is currently in dialogue with multiple parties and working with renowned Audubon expert Mr. Bill Steiner to identify possible sources for these two prints.

Ms. Beth Prindle, Manager of Education, Interpretation and Outreach provided an update on the upcoming multi-faceted Civil War exhibitions at the Central Library. The Boston Public Library web page will list all activities. Everyone is encouraged to take advantage of these great programs.

Chairman Clancy moved to the final agenda item on the Print Department Acquisitions. Ms. Glover reviewed the Committee’s acquisition acceptance policy and then invited Ms. Karen Shafts, Assistant Keeper of Prints to present a recent contribution offered to the Boston Public Library. The Print Department recently had been offered a gift of early 20th century prints by American printmakers, all in very good condition, and appraised at $35,000 from Mr. Keith Angel of Medfield. Ms. Shafts shared a representative sample of these items which include prints by Sears Gallagher, Lester Hornby, Philip Tackle, and Robert Nesbit.

On a motion duly made and seconded, it was

VOTED: that, the Trustees Collections Committee accepts the gift of Mr. Keith Angel of the early 20th century collection of prints.

There being no further business, the meeting of the Boston Public Library Collections Committee adjourned at 1:30 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Nancy Grilk
Clerk to the Trustees