A Special Meeting of the Trustees of the Public library of the City of Boston as a Corporation and Administrative Agency was held at the Central Branch, Copley Square, on Tuesday, June 25, 2013 at 8:30 a.m.
Present at the Meeting were: Chairman Jeffrey B. Rudman, Trustees: Evelyn Arana-Ortiz, John Hailer, Paul La Camera (by phone), Dennis Lehane and Byron Rushing.
Absent from the Meeting were: Trustees Zamawa Arenas and Carol Fulp
Also present at the Meeting were: President Amy E. Ryan; Clerk of the Board Nancy Grilk; Boston Public Library and City of Boston staff; representatives of William Rawn Architects, Inc.; and, 3 members of the public.
Chairman Jeffrey B. Rudman presided.
Mr. Rudman remarked on the great presentations and a successful event to launch the eighteen Collections of Distinction on June 19. Mr. Rudman further praised the creatively packet of descriptive cards depicting each collection.
The Chair called on President Amy Ryan to report on Capital Projects. President Ryan underscored that the Boston Public Library systemwide capital projects, integrated library computer system, and security audit are guided by the Compass Principles. President Ryan highlighted a few projects including the final relocation of materials to the Archival Center, and implementation of the security audit.
Director of Administration and Technology David Leonard reviewed the branch capital improvements and facilities review. Mr. Leonard noted that there is a slate of twenty-two active projects. Mr. Leonard highlighted the construction of the new East Boston branch which remains on schedule for a fall opening, and the completion of an update of a 2006 programming study with the community at the Jamaica Plain branch which is moving to formal design with Department of Property Management and Construction. Mayor Thomas M. Menino’s FY13 small projects initiative provided funding for five branch improvement projects. Highlights at the Central Library, Copley Square include completion of waterproofing in the McKim Building basement, and progress on cooling tower and chiller system improvements to provide a more energy efficient system.
President Ryan prefaced the discussion on the Johnson Improvement Project noting that the project is first and foremost about enriching library services for people of all ages, readers, browsers, researchers, improving and enlivening the entrance, and a positive financial impact. The project is moving into the conceptual phase, and continues with the input of Trustees, Community Advisory Committee, staff and the public.
William Rawn of William Rawn Architects, Inc. explained that the current phase includes exploration of design options, preliminary cost estimates, and scheduling. Future design phases will be brought to the Trustees for suggestions and approvals. Mr. Rawn reviewed the areas under the jurisdiction of the Boston Landmarks Commission; the Boylston Street lobby, Defarrari Hall, and the exterior façade. The conceptual design will be reviewed at a Boston Landmarks Commission hearing this evening. Mr. Rawn reviewed proposals to enliven and energize the front of the Johnson Building. A community learning area is proposed for the mezzanine level. The Teen Zone would remain on the second level, and added would be an expanded Children’s Library and a Tween Zone space. Concourse level rejuvenation proposals include new seats, carpets, improved audio visual and acoustics in Rabb Lecture Hall. Additional planning continues for the area outside of Rabb Lecture Hall.
Mr. Rawn reiterated that the enterprise component must relate to the goals of the library. Exterior planning which requires Boston Landmarks Commission approval includes removal of the granite plinths to activate the exterior. Preliminary designs include folding glass walls. Needed window replacement with more energy efficient glass would also improve visibility into and out of the building. Under consideration is removal of the entryway walls to further open the area. Interactive information panels would be included at the entry. Discussion followed landmark issues. Maureen Anderson, Senior Project Manager for Property Construction and Management reported that other historic preservation-orientated and neighborhood groups, such as Boston Preservation Alliance, Historic Boston, and Neighborhood Association of the Back Bay have been involved with and supportive of the Johnson Improvement Project. Discussion followed on the Boston Landmarks Commission process. The evening hearing is the first step of a four to five month-long process.
President Ryan reported that the first phase of the Johnson Building construction does not require Boston Landmark Commission approval. Construction will begin on the second floor during the latter part of 2013 once permits are issued and will be closed to the public for about one year. Following that, construction will take place on the first floor and mezzanine level and last about one and a half years. Staff is working to insure that patrons are well informed of and well directed to services during construction.
Public roundtables with focused discussions on systemwide and Johnson Building improvements will begin in July. Staff discussions will continue at monthly meetings. Discussion followed on providing information through social media.
There being no New Business, the Chair called for Public Comment.
Two members of the public commented on support for social media and suggested making posters of word clouds, also known as wordels; support to continue the branch facilities review; and, interest in commercial development including a book store or gift shop that is in line with the library’s mission.
There being no further business, the meeting adjourned at 9:40 a.m.
Clerk of the Board