Trustees of the Public Library of the City of Boston
Minutes for a Meeting
as a Corporation and as an Administrative Agency
The Boston Public Library
Trustees’ Room, Johnson building, 3rd floor,
700 Boylston Street, Boston, MA
Thursday, Aug. 14 2008 at 9:00 a.m.
A public meeting of the Trustees of the Public Library of the City of Boston as a Corporation and as an Administrative Agency was held at the Boston Public Library, McKim Building, Orientation Room, 1st floor, Dartmouth Street, Boston, MA at 8:00 a.m.
Present at the meeting were: Trustees Zamawa Arenas, James Carroll, Berth é M. Gaines, Donna M. DePrisco, Jeffrey B. Rudman, Angelo M. Scaccia, A. Raymond Tye, and Karyn M. Wilson.
Also present at the meeting were: John H. McArthur, former Dean, Harvard Business School, and co-chair of the Search Committee for the President of the Boston Public Library; Robert K. Sullivan, Jr., Korn/Ferry International; Alice Hennessey, Special Assistant to Mayor Thomas M. Menino; Meredith Weenick, Associate Director, Office of Administration and Finance, City of Boston; Maribeth Cusick, Esq. and Suchita Desai, Esq., Corporation Counsel, City of Boston Law Department; Ronald P. O’Hanley, Chairman, Sharyn Neble, Vice Chair, and Daria McLean, Director of Development, Boston Public Library Foundation; David Vieira, President, City-Wide Friends of the Boston Public Library; Edward D. Maheigan, Acting Chief Financial Officer; Carol A. Mahoney, Neighborhood Services Manager; Mary Frances O’Brien, Central Library Services Manager; Sarah-Ann Shaw; President, and Ms. Mimi Jones, member of Dudley Branch Friends Group; Betsy Hall, Executive Director, Associates of the BPL; Mary Bender, Acting Communications Manager; AFSCME, Local 1526 representatives; PSA representatives; members of the media, Library administration, staff, public, and Jamie McGlone, Clerk to the Trustees.
Chairman Jeffrey B. Rudman presided.
Chairman Jeffrey B. Rudman welcomed the Stakeholders, Friends and Colleagues of the Public Library of the City of Boston to the Boston Public Library. The Chairman expressed the Board’s appreciation to Professor James I. Cash, Dean John H. McArthur, Robert K. Sullivan, Jr., and all the members of the Search Committee for the President of the Boston Public Library for their work on behalf of the Boston Public Library.
The Chairman outlined the principle purpose of today’s meeting pertaining to interviewing and selecting a new president of the Boston Public Library. The Chairman reviewed the ground rules for the four candidate interviews exclusively by the Board of Trustees as follows: interviews will last an hour and fifteen minutes; there will be a thirty (30) minute break for lunch; please turn off all cell phones, blackberry’s and any other devices that could disrupt the interviews; seats cannot be held for other members of the public; only the Board of Library Trustees may ask the candidates questions.
Additionally, the ground rules included that once you are seated for an interview you must remain seated until the interview is concluded; at the end of an interview there will be a 10 minute break until the next interview is scheduled. The audience may enter or leave during this time; when the interviews have been completed the Trustees’ deliberations will begin. No questions or comments will be taken from the public and no disruptive behavior will be tolerated.
Dean John H. McArthur provided background information on and chronology of the activities of the Search Committee which was established by the Honorable Mayor Thomas M. Menino and the Trustees of the Public Library of the City of Boston on December 7, 2007 to assist in the search for a new BPL president.
The charge of the Search Committee included the responsibilities for developing and recommending a group of candidates for a new Library president for the Trustees of the Public Library of the City of Boston. Subsequently, the Trustees would then publicly interview the recommended slate of candidates and vote to appoint the next president of the BPL.
Dean McArthur reported that the Search Committee also interviewed a host of professional search firms to assist in developing a job description, candidate outreach and screening and ultimately selected Korn/Ferry International which was represented at the meeting by Ms. Margaret Shue and Mr. Robert K. Sullivan, Jr., Boston Office Managing Director.
In preparation of its work, the Search Committee members visited most of the twenty-seven branch libraries to meet and see first hand the front line staff of the BPL providing outstanding service throughout the neighborhoods of Boston. Additionally, Dean McArthur strongly underscored that the visits and the Search Committee meetings that were held at the Branch Libraries also provided truly fantastic experiences and the opportunity to meet committed and effective staff throughout the Library system.
Chairman Jeffrey B. Rudman reiterated that the Trustees promised a wide-open national search based on talent, credentials and expertise as reflected in the four finalist candidates who would be interviewed in public today. Further, the Chairman underscored that the Board has fulfilled its promise for an open public transparent process throughout the entire search process for a new president of the Boston Public Library.
Dean John H. McArthur underscored the stellar job Korn/Ferry International provided throughout the search process including the provision of an instrument to identify the leadership attributes to screen potential candidates across the country. The deliberations of the Search Committee early on in the process was the desirability to throw out as a beginning net the need to find an outstanding leader and therefore not to limit the search initially exclusively to professional librarians.
Dean McArthur noted that it became very clear from the Committee visits and extensive discussions with staff and Library stakeholders that they understood the potential and the power of the institution and the need to select a person that would ideally serve as a catalyst and take the institution forward.
Consequently, Dean McArthur underscored that this was reflected in the way the Search Committee completed the instrument for the professional search firm coupled with the development of the job description particularly in light of the preference for a professional librarian but not the exclusive requirement. Overall, the idea was to focus on leadership and the ability to motivate individuals who are already doing an outstanding job.
Dean John H. McArthur welcomed and introduced the Honorable Thomas F. Birmingham, former Massachusetts Senate President and current Senior Counsel with Edwards Angell Palmer & Dodge, Boston, MA who was the first interview candidate of a total four candidates that were slated to be presented in alphabetical order.
The Honorable Thomas F. Birmingham provided an overview of his career, education, professional affiliations, academic and public service awards, and aspirations and vision for the Boston Public Library. Mr. Birmingham noted that he is a non-traditional candidate with respect to being a non-librarian subject to the Board’s consideration; however, by definition his career has taken a different path to bring him here today as a candidate for the president of the BPL.
Mr. Birmingham noted that following graduation from Harvard Law School in 1978 he spent more than a decade practicing as a labor lawyer and subsequently served in the Massachusetts State Senate from 1991 to 2003 including as Senate President from 1996 to 2003. In his first term, Senator Birmingham served as Chair of the Education, Arts and Humanities Committee and in that capacity he wrote the Education Reform Act which fundamentally restructured the funding and structure of public education in Massachusetts.
In his second term, Senator Birmingham was named to Chair the Senate Ways and Means Committee and in that capacity he wrote three state budgets in which each represented over $20 billion yearly spending initiatives. The Senator underscored that the hallmark of his political career was to champion the extension of public education and learning for all citizens and particularly youth.
The Senator fondly recalled that in 1988 he initiated an appropriation of $17 million earmarked to help restore the historic McKim Building and referenced the mission proclaimed on the façade of the McKim building Free to All and Built by the People and Dedicated to the Advancement of Learning.
Senator Birmingham reiterated that he has a unique set of skills, experiences and relationships which he would bring to the leadership and advancement of the public mission of the BPL as reflected in the job specification developed for the presidency. Mr. Birmingham noted his extensive experience in community and public relations, labor and governmental relations coupled with a proven record as a successful fundraiser.
Senator Birmingham envisions the BPL, which locates itself on the commanding heights of our cultural legacy, as a Library that is deeply relevant to the social, cultural and artistic life of every neighborhood in the City of Boston in concert with the Central Library which ought to be the place where all Bostonians can come to engage in comfortable conversations and be able to exchange ideas of art, history, literature, and politics.
The Senator reiterated that the Branch Libraries, in partnership with the Boston Public Schools and Community Centers, should reflect the neighborhoods of the City and celebrate the diversity of the City including the collections that represent the different linguistic and cultural traditions.
To further that end, the Senator visited every single BPL Branch Library and noted that in too many instances the branches appeared to be teen free zones and stressed that the Library has to be affirmatively inviting to every constituency particularly youth. Further, the Branches need to be open on the weekends including Sundays and play a more heightened cultural and vibrant role in the neighborhoods.
The Trustees and Senator Birmingham engaged in an extensive discussion pertaining to the following topics: the advantages and disadvantages of a non-librarian as the next president of the BPL in light of the both the library profession and the BPL system being in a period of transition; a proposed CEO/COO management model structure; the desirability for increasing branch hours of service; and fundraising experience outside the political role with other cultural institutions.
Dean John H. McArthur welcomed and introduced Mr. Mario M. Gonzalez who recently retired as the Executive Director of the Greenwich Public Library, Greenwich, Connecticut. Mr. McArthur noted Mr. Gonzalez has a remarkable record in providing library services to groups that have been excluded in society as reflected in his former positions including as Coordinator of the Office of Services for Persons with Disabilities at the New York Public Library.
Mr. Mario Gonzalez provided an overview of his career, education, professional affiliations, academic and public service awards, and aspirations and vision for the Boston Public Library. Mr. Gonzalez noted that he brings a vision for the BPL to create an outstanding customer-friendly library, both physically and virtually, while at the same time to create an outstanding work place experience for the employees.
Mr. Gonzalez noted that he also brings to the Board strong leadership skills and has been elected and selected to represent the library profession locally, regionally, nationally and internationally coupled with being invited by the U.S. Department of State to speak in Mexico, Costa Rica and Kosovo.
Mr. Gonzalez underscored that he is a strong communicator at all levels and he has over thirty years of public library experience including serving as Head, General Reference and Advisory Services Department at the New York Public Library, Assistant Director, Public Services, Houston Texas Public Library, and Director, Programs and Special Services, Brooklyn New York Public Library.
Mr. Gonzalez discussed his experiences as Assistant Director for Public Services at the Houston Public Library ranging from responsibility for policy, operational decisions, and the delivery of all public service activities of the Library which is composed of a Central Library Complex, including the Houston Metropolitan Research Center and Clayton Center for Genealogical Research, and 36 Branch Libraries providing a network of materials, services and programs to Houston’s diverse neighborhoods.
Mr. Gonzalez reviewed his experiences as Director for Programs and Special Services at the Brooklyn Public Library which is an independent system, separate from the NYC and Queens libraries, serving the borough’s 2.5 million residents through 60 facilities offering thousands of public programs, millions of books and use of more than 850 free Internet-accessible computers.
Mr. Gonzalez provided background information on his experiences as Executive Director of the Greenwich Public Library from 1999 to May 2008 which is a three-library network serving a population of 61,000 and noted his oversight and creation of a Health Information Center funded through a private donation. The Library circulates 1.38 million items, hosts over 674,000 visits a year, and raises an average of $400,000 a year for strategic initiatives.
Further, Mr. Gonzalez reported that he has successfully passed ten annual budgets of over $11M yearly (85% public and 15% private), has been responsible for a staff of 176 full-time employees and has provided leadership for administering the business library system in the State of Connecticut and second busies library in New England (after the BPL).
The Trustees and Mr. Mario Gonzalez engaged in an extensive discussion pertaining to the following topics: vision and personal aspirations for the presidency of the BPL; perspective on the role of technology and its impact on libraries and the future of libraries with respect to the public’s access to information; perspective on what makes one library system better than another library system including the critical role of marketing; a local newspaper article on a problem with morale in the Greenwich Public Library; the challenges of implementing an e-mail library policy in conformity with a town policy; and the challenges facing the next BPL president including: increasing public and private funding; building staff morale; enhancing branch libraries as vibrant and vital parts of the community; and collaboration with the Boston Public Schools.
Dean John H. McArthur welcomed and introduced Ms. Amy E. Ryan, Director, Hennepin County Library, Minneapolis, Minnesota. A nationally recognized public library system, the Hennepin County Library serves one million residents in Minneapolis and 46 suburbs and includes the Central Library (a 363,000 square foot facility, completed in 2006) and 40 neighborhood and regional libraries with a collection of 5 million items including historic archives and special collections.
Ms. Amy Ryan first thanked Dean John H. McArthur, Dr. James I. Cash, members of the Search Committee and representatives of Korn/Ferry International for a very organized and professional search process. Ms. Ryan noted that she is happy in and committed to her current position at the HCL but the invitation to interview for the presidency of the BPL was too compelling to not explore both from personal curiosity and an intellectual pursuit.
Ms. Ryan provided an overview of her career, education, professional affiliations, academic and public service awards, and aspirations and vision for the Boston Public Library. From a librarian’s viewpoint, Ms. Ryan underscored that the BPL has it all including: a Central Library with the Presidential Library of John Adams, the Norman B. Leventhal Map Center collection, and William Shakespeare’sfirst folio coupled with 27 Branch Libraries.
Ms. Ryan described her commitment to public libraries reflected over the course of her career spanning more than thirty years and underscored that while libraries are important on their own they are more essential when they fit into the big picture including city-wide mayoral priorities such as closing the achievement gap, reducing violent crime, and the creation of new jobs.
Ms. Ryan underscored that Libraries can significantly contribute to the fundamental direction of a city; they are unique institutions and there is no other institution that does what a library does including strengthening and enhancing neighborhoods.
Ms. Ryan noted that as she reflects upon her qualifications in light of a vision for the BPL her professional career includes librarian positions at the Central Library of the Minneapolis Central Library which opened in 1885 and includes an Athenaeum. Ms. Ryan has held professional positions in the History Department, Special Collections, and Manager of the Central Library Humanities Division which provided her with the experience, knowledge, and appreciation of the resources and services of Research Library collections.
Additionally, Ms. Ryan has committed her career to managing and administering community libraries including as Director and Chief of the Community Libraries, Partnerships and Development at the Minneapolis Public Library.
Meanwhile, the city of Minneapolis in 2000 passed a $140 million referendum to improve all libraries in Minneapolis which included construction of a new Central Library and $40 million to improve all community libraries. At that time, the scope of Ms. Ryan’s responsibilities moved over to capital projects to oversee the implementation of the referendum initiatives.
In 2005, Ms. Ryan assumed the position of Director of Hennepin County Library, Minneapolis, MN which is a nationally recognized public library system and serves one million residents in Minneapolis and 46 suburbs and includes the Central Library and 40 neighborhood and regional libraries with a collection of 5 million items including historic archives and special collections.
Ms. Ryan reviewed the merger in January 2008 which she directed and co-chaired of the suburban Hennepin County Library (26 libraries) with the city’s Minneapolis Public Library (Central Library and 14 community libraries). The consolidation required approvals from the State Legislature, County Board, City Council, and an elected city Library Board. The merger resulted in the full integration of staff, resources and management structure.
Ms. Ryan reiterated strongly that the guiding light was the strategic mission of the merger which was so fundamentally important that the way to deliver the best possible library services in Hennepin County was to have one unified system with equal library services to people. By way of background, Ms. Ryan then shared with the Board two Hennepin County Library www.hclib.org brochures pertaining to the Hennepin County Library’s Facts & Figures 2008 and Hours and Locations.
Ms. Ryan referenced an important piece of her career background that has prepared her to become the president of the BPL centered on her demonstrated commitment to partnerships and community engagements. Ms. Ryan underscored that there is strength in numbers; the library’s power is exponential when it partners, particularly when there is interplay between government, non-profits, and business.
Ms. Ryan noted her discussions with national library colleagues across the country on best ways for delivering library services in the 21 st century which includes having the managerial courage that it takes to bring the stakeholders together, the decision making process worked out, and letting the Library Board forge ahead while being confident about ambiguity especially in a time of change.
Ms. Ryan’s vision for the Boston Public Library in light of and consistent with the mission is that the Boston Public Library touches every Bostonian at least once every year which can be accomplished in three ways including in-library, online, and in the community.
Ms. Ryan envisions building upon a wonderful community library system; preservation and maintenance of the magnificent collections facilities; enhancement of electronic access online services; a customer-focused website and public computers throughout the system; and the critical component of developing partnerships in the community including reaching out to people who do not ordinarily use the public library.
The Trustees and Ms. Amy E. Ryan engaged in an extensive discussion pertaining to the following topics: the critical components she specifically brought to the table to accomplish the goal of the successful consolidation of the Hennepin County Library with the city’s Minneapolis Public Library system; expansion of weekend library services; personal experience with fundraising and fostering relationships with private foundations and public resources; managing authority and points of conflict; and the critical importance of how the library presents itself to the community; value of performance reviews in light of expectations and accountability of staff.
Chairman Jeffrey B. Rudman read an unsolicited signed letter he received yesterday, unaware by Ms. Ryan from a current employee, who personally finds “Ms. Amy Ryan personable and effective, honest, sincere, and a great leader who continually communicates with all employees and makes employees feel important and valuable contributors to the library mission. I would miss Amy as our director but I believe she would be a fantastic president of the BPL.”
The Trustees and Ms. Amy E. Ryan further engaged in a discussion pertaining to: what she regards as the underpinnings of her managerial successes; elaboration on strengthening and enhancing community libraries toward transforming lives; experience in managing a diverse organization and fostering different communities within an organization; enhancing technology to move the institution forward for the public and as the cornerstone for operational efficiencies; vision and commitment to strong BPL collaboration with the Boston Public Schools; and the integration of management teams, Trustees, and funding structures pertaining to the merger of the County and City Library systems.
Dean John H. McArthur welcomed and introduced Ms. Susan H. Hildreth, California State Librarian, Sacramento, California. The California State Library provides library services for the California Executive Office, the State Legislature and all state employees. The collection holds 2.7 million items, a staff of 178 FTE and an annual budget of $75 million.
Ms. Hildreth provided an overview of her career, education, professional affiliations, academic and public service awards, and aspirations and vision for the Boston Public Library. Ms. Hildreth is responsible for the operation of the California State Library and was appointed by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger in July 2004.
Responsible for an annual distribution of over $16 million in federal funding and $59 million in state funding, Ms. Hildreth oversees Library development activities for 181 public library systems serving over 37 million residents. Additionally, Ms. Hildreth is responsible for public policy research and legislative information services, supervises a $350 million public library construction bond program, and $128 million cultural facilities bond program.
Ms. Hildreth began her library career 35 years ago as a Branch Librarian at the Edison Township Library, Edison, New Jersey and moved to California in 1980 and assumed the Branch Librarian position at the Davis, California Public Library system. Subsequently, Ms. Hildreth worked in a variety of managerial positions in California including as Deputy Library Director of the Sacramento Public Library which includes a Central Library, 23 branches, and serves over one million people.
Ms. Hildreth served as Deputy City Library of the San Francisco Public Library from 1998 to 2000 and Acting City Librarian when the City Librarian suffered a massive stroke. Mayor Willie Brown appointed her the official City Librarian in March 2001 where she remained until her appointment as State Librarian in 2004.
Ms. Hildreth noted that she joined the San Francisco Public Library in 1998 as part of a new leadership team with responsibilities for the operation of the Library and building a new Main Library which totals 376,000 square feet. The SFPL has 26 branches, serves a population of 800,000 people and has an operating budget of $58 million.
Ms. Hildreth underscored that she built on the great work of the previous Library Director in moving a very large traditional library organization forward that had suffered from a lack of good communication in a time of great change. Additionally, Ms. Hildreth noted that she also was instrumental in developing a successful $106 million branch bond program that resulted in renovating 19 branch libraries and building five new facilities.
During her tenure at the SFPL, a separate Friends and Foundation organization merged into the Friends & Foundation of the San Francisco Public Library and worked extensively on many philanthropic initiatives.
Ms. Hildreth noted that her current position as State Librarian of California is personally a great honor which serves as the Collection of Last Resort for all State and Federal documents similar the BPL’s role as the Library of Last Recourse for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Additionally, the State Library has been supporting live Homework Help for many libraries throughout the State and has initiated and supported a variety of literacy activities.
Additionally, Ms. Hildreth noted that the State Library has developed a partnership with and LSCA financial support of the Internet Archives (Open Content Alliance) earmarked for the digitization of library collections.
Ms. Hildreth reiterated that serving as the president of the BPL would be a great honor and privilege for her personally which would also enable her to shape neighborhood library services. Ms. Hildreth stated that her overarching goal would be to provide excellent 21 st century library service that the City deserves in light of the needs of the Board, the citizens and the City of Boston.
In a comparative analysis to the SFPL on the 2007 service indicator front, Ms. Hildreth noted the number of visitors was significantly lower at 3.5 million vs. 5 million visitors which might be related to branch hours of service including no Sunday branch hours. Ms. Hildreth was very impressed with the number of people that borrow materials at 50% of the population which indicates a lot of people are using the library and the collection.
Ms. Hildreth was also impressed with the fact that the BPL had answered 1 million reference questions in an era when reference queries are declining overall in the nation’s libraries which shows the BPL plays the state-wide role for reference coupled with extensive research collections. On the circulation front at 2.9 million, Ms. Hildreth noted circulation has been increasing and the indicator is good but circulation could be much higher in light of SFPL at 7.7 million in a similar time period; circulation per capita at BPL is 4 vs. 9 per capita at the SFPL.
Ms. Hildreth noted on the funding front that she would also explore ways to increase both the public and private funds to support sustainable purposes. Additionally, Ms. Hildreth noted that there were many valuable activities on the FY08 Action Plan for the BPL and she would want to make sure that the Library has the capacity to make progress in all those areas, and if not, she would want to explore ways to achieve that capacity including the installation of self-service check-out equipment at Central and the branches.
The Trustees and Ms. Susan H. Hildreth engaged in an extensive discussion pertaining to the following topics: creating an environment in the institution where innovation and risk taking by staff are accepted; the challenges of managing a complex and complicated institutional organizational structure; personal experience with fundraising in the private sector; innovative initiatives and programs created at the SFPL branch libraries; elaboration on how libraries transform lives in light of the advent of the internet; personal involvement on the national level on ALA Boards and Committees; anticipated challenges as president of the BPL; and enhancing collaboration with the Boston Public Schools.
Chairman Jeffrey B. Rudman reiterated that the candidates were allowed to speak in public, the candidates were interviewed in public, and the Trustees will deliberate and vote in public to offer one person the position as president of the Boston Public Library.
The Chairman recalled that the Trustees of the Public Library of the City of Boston held a public meeting on July 28, 2008 to review the search process and established the ground rules for today’s interview process. In procedurally going forward, the Chairman polled the Trustees on their choices to invite any candidates back to be re-interviewed.
Trustee Karyn M. Wilson commended Professor James I. Cash and Dean John H. McArthur on their leadership and the representatives from Korn/Ferry International and all the members of the Search Committee for their outstanding work on behalf of the Boston Public Library.
Trustee Wilson also noted the impressive presentation by the Honorable Thomas F. Birmingham and noted that while he is not a librarian it became clear today why it is so important to have a librarian as head of the BPL. Ms. Wilson added that Senator Birmingham spoke extremely passionately about why this job was compelling to him personally and that his knowledge of the state and the city coupled with his vision for the Library could be an incredible asset to the institution.
Following a polled consensus, the Board agreed to invite Ms. Susan H. Hildreth and Ms. Amy E. Ryan back to be re-interviewed to enable the Board to make a judicious comparison and to learn more from those two candidates focused on the following six topics: Management Approach; Collaboration with City Hall, Partnerships in the Community, Boston Public Schools, and Library Profession; Advocacy for the BPL including Fundraising, Public Relations, Special Collections and the Legislature; Vision for Libraries and the BPL; Concrete Challenge of Renewing the Branches; and Technology Goals for the BPL.
Ms. Susan H. Hildreth expounded upon her vast management achievements including exercising authority and motivating staff during a period of transition through assessing and identifying areas toward building capacities in collaboration with the Board, staff, and the unions.
Ms. Hildreth addressed her vision toward and experience with creating and enhancing collaborative efforts with City Hall, the Boston Public Schools and other Community and Corporate Partnerships based on developing personal relationships and in concert with the Strategic Plan for the BPL. Ms. Hildreth provided background information on her experience collaborating with the California legislature and political figures regarding the reorganization of the Library as a Joint Powers Authority of the City and County of Sacramento.
Ms. Hildreth underscored that the Branch Libraries are the Heart of the Library and discussed her vision toward enhancing the welcoming, inviting, and comfortable feelings to the entire community including the establishment of separate spaces for teens throughout the system. On the advocacy front, Ms. Hildreth addressed the process of the successful merger of the Friends and the Foundation at the San Francisco Public Library and her experiences in working with advocacy groups whose passions were focused on special collections.
Ms. Hildreth addressed her long term vision for public libraries and the significant role technology will play in their future development noting that while technology is a means to an end it is all about connecting people with information both physically and virtually to enhance their quality of life.
Ms. Amy E. Ryan reviewed her approach to how she would address the morale problem in the institution which would be handled with empathy and the gift of listening and consensus building. Ms. Ryan underscored that when you are managing people it is also important to clarify what you want to accomplish in concert with the vision of the Library Board and determine how you are going to get there.
Ms. Ryan underscored that the Minneapolis County Board values employee engagement significantly, and when appropriate, brings all levels of staff into the decision making process that directly affects them. Additionally, the County has a long honored tradition of working with unions and it is written into the AFSCME contract that the Library practice the policy entitled Dignity and Respect which reflects a system-wide commitment of listening to each other and ensuring the spirit and principles of the policy are fulfilled.
Ms. Ryan further noted that it is also important for managers to be clear about staff expectations and to have annual performance reviews to review the goals of what is to be accomplished over the course of the year which lends itself to mutual accountability and feedback.
Ms. Ryan reviewed her personal experiences with fundraising initiatives noting that she has been effective as a result of the strong network of collaborative efforts and contacts she has built over the years in Minneapolis which she is confident she would be able to develop in Boston in concert with the Board, BPL Foundation and Friends Groups.
On the advocacy front, Ms. Ryan provided background information on her extensive experiences with communications, marketing, and public relations efforts to inform the public around the resources and services of the institution. Ms. Ryan believes in strong internal and external communications and noted the importance of graphics to get the message out visually to the stakeholders and the public which directly reflects upon how the Library is presented to the public.
Ms. Ryan addressed her long term vision for public libraries and ways she would shape their future as president of the BPL. Ms. Ryan noted that libraries are unique institutions and underscored the importance of protecting the base commitment which includes books, children and literacy.
The 21 st century library would add to these critical areas including the development and enhancement of community responsive libraries that would significantly contribute to the education of children in a fun and safe environment that would be community driven and created through high tech partnerships.
By way of example, Ms. Ryan recalled her library’s response to a small town that was hit by a devastating tornado a year ago which included opening the library by noon of that day, establishment of a bulletin board listing missing people, and the delivery of computers and fax machines to assist the public with filing their insurance claims.
Ms. Ryan reviewed her experiences in working with special collections and would welcome the opportunity to work with the BPL’s Trustees’ Collections Committee in bringing the Committee’s recommendations to fruition.
Ms. Ryan discussed ways she would build partnerships with the university and college communities and especially with Simmons Library School in Boston including helping with educating librarians of color to move the profession into the next generation. Further, Ms. Ryan would partner with the Foundation and the universities to address early literacy needs, network with MIT on architecture initiatives, and the ocean of academia in Boston to focus on the needs of teens particularly around science and technology education.
Chairman Jeffrey B. Rudman polled the Board on their preference for the president of the Boston Public Library. Trustee Donna M. DePrisco selected Ms. Amy Ryan noting her sincerity, intelligence, style of mixing humor with her intellect and particularly her sense of compassion when she described her toughest managerial decision on how hard it was to layoff staff during the merger of County and City Libraries. Trustee A. Raymond Tye cast his vote for Ms. Ryan. Trustee Zamawa Arenas cast her vote for Ms. Ryan.
Trustee Karyn M. Wilson selected Ms. Ryan noting her specific vision that the Boston Public Library touches every Bostonian at least once every year which can be accomplished in three ways including in-library, online, and in the community. Trustee Wilson further noted Ms. Ryan’s experience with reinforcing cycles for the institution on every level including marketing, funding, programming, and staff morale and her compelling reasons for considering relocating to Boston.
Trustee Wilson noted she was also impressed with Ms. Ryan’s statement regarding the importance of libraries fitting into the overall priorities of the city and the community including the specific priorities of the role of the library in closing the achievement gap and reducing crime in the city coupled with her significant leadership qualities and accomplishments with the successful merger of County and City Libraries.
Trustee James Carroll cast his vote for Ms. Amy Ryan noting that the most impressive quality of Ms. Ryan is that she is so impressive in the context of the other candidates who themselves were so impressive in light of an astonishingly creative search process.
Trustee Carroll further noted that he is extremely impressed with Ms. Ryan’s display of management style including her willingness to listen and he appreciated that the unions are important points of reference in the institution. Further, Trustee Carroll underscored that Ms. Ryan displayed real empathy and understanding which suggests that she is capable of a making tough decisions in the spirit of collaboration, political skill, and community outreach in leading the institution forward.
Trustee Carroll reiterated Ms. Ryan’s vision for the BPL resonated with him and that she would be a terrific advocate for the institution including protecting the base commitment of books, children and literacy and would respond as the times require in leading the institution. Further, Trustee Carroll welcomed Ms. Ryan’s invitation to adopt the word community as defining the branch libraries and her intuition on the technology front about collaboration with the ocean of academia with a focus on youth.
Trustee Berth é M. Gaines voted for Ms. Amy Ryan noting she was very impressed with her honesty and that she would be an effective and strong leader for the Boston Public Library. The Honorable Angelo M. Scaccia voted for Ms. Susan H. Hildreth noting her strong leadership experience and political skills coupled with her extensive experience at the San Francisco Public Library and the State Library of California.
Chairman Jeffrey B. Rudman voted for Ms. Amy E. Ryan for the reasons articulated by the Board members. Following extensive discussion, on a motion duly made and seconded, it was
“VOTED: unanimously that the Trustees of the Public Library of the City of Boston extend an offer to Ms. Amy E. Ryan as President of the Boston Public Library.”
There being no other business, on a motion duly made and seconded, the meeting of the Corporation and Administrative Agency adjourned at 4:30 p.m.