A 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 Central Library of the Boston Public Library on Tuesday, November 12, 2013 at 3 p.m.
Present at the meeting were: Chairman Jeffrey B. Rudman, Trustees: Vice Chair Evelyn Arana-Ortiz, Zamawa Arenas, Laura DeBonis, John T. Hailer, Dennis Lehane, and Paul A. La Camera.
Absent from the meeting were Trustees Carol Fulp and Byron Rushing.
Also present at the meeting were: President Amy E. Ryan; Clerk of the Board Nancy Grilk; Boston Public Library and City of Boston staff; and ten members of the public
Chairman Jeffrey B. Rudman presided.
The Chairman addressed the item on the agenda of the Review and Approval of the Minutes of the Trustees Meeting held on Tuesday, September 10, 2013. On a motion made and duly seconded, the Minutes of the September 10, 2013 Meeting were approved.
Chairman Rudman introduced and welcomed new Trustee Laura DeBonis noting that she is a founding Board Member of the Digital Public Library of America, served on the Advisory Board of the Internet Safety Technical Task Force at Harvard’s Berkman Center, and in a variety of management roles. Trustee DeBonis said it is an honor and privilege to serve with such an amazing array of Trustees.
Chairman Rudman thanked President Ryan, Trustee La Camera, the Public Facilities Commission, William Rawn, the library team and the community for the great collaboration that resulted in the wonderful new East Boston Library. The grand opening on November 2 brought thousands from the community to celebrate this new addition to the neighborhood.
Chairman Rudman congratulated Trustee La Camera for receiving the WBUR Medal of Honor in tribute to his great service. A round of applause followed.
Chairman Rudman reminded the Trustees of the November 22 Trustees Staff Recognition and Appreciation event at the Library honoring 9 staff members with 25-years of service and providing an opportunity to meet staff and their families.
Head Librarian of the West End Branch Helen Bender was introduced and invited to make remarks. The meeting had been scheduled to take place at the West End Branch but was moved to the larger space at the Central Library due to the size of the Johnson Building architectural model. Ms. Bender reported that the branch has been improved by capital projects over the past year. The branch hosts a food pantry for Action for Boston Community Development serving 150 clients per month. The branch hosts several classes. Ms. Bender praised her staff for their dedication and excellent customer service. Ms Bender received an award at the Romantic Times Convention for the first ever Librarian Who Cares Service Award.
President Amy Ryan’s report began with the announcement that the Library was awarded the Polaris Library Systems 2013 Beta Award in recognition of outstanding computer-based applications for circulation interchange beta partner. The award was presented at the Polaris Library Systems User’s Group Conference on October 11. Applications Manager John Dorsey came forward to represent the Technical Services Staff team. President Ryan next highlighted receipt of the Griffin Museum of Photography’s Eighth Annual Focus Award in recognition of the Promotion, Curation, and Presentation of Photography for Digitization Work for Massachusetts Digital Commonwealth presented at the Focus Awards meeting on October 19. Baha Kavlakli came forward to represent the Digital Services team. With the Library’s state partners, 80,000 items have been digitized. President Ryan also thanked Library Facilities Staff, Jim Meade, Ralph Henry and Leo McDermott, along with EMCOR electricians for the elegant exterior lighting of the McKim Building.
President Ryan introduced the next agenda item for the presentation of the Johnson Building Improvement Project. President Ryan noted that the project is guided by the Compass Principals in conjunction with the system wide capital improvement project. The project is rooted in library services, and will create a stronger connection between the Johnson and McKim buildings. Use of the Central Library has increased dramatically: more than 5,000 people visit the Johnson Building every day, an increase of one half million visitors in fiscal year 2013. The proposed service plan for the library has been forged by the Trustees, Library staff, city and design partners, the Community Advisory Committee, and the public. The first phase begins in December on the second floor for youth. President Ryan recognized Community Advisory Committee member Karen Cord Taylor in the audience. President Ryan introduced Principal of William Rawn Associates | Architects, Inc. William Rawn to lead the discussion. Mr. Rawn reiterated the four principles to make the building responsive to historic qualities of the Johnson Building and to follow the requirements of the Boston Landmarks Commission: 1. responding to the 21st century needs of the Library, 2. flexibility for future evolution, 3. re-energizing use of the Johnson Building, and 4. unifying the Johnson and McKim buildings. The Trustees and the public moved to the architectural model. Architect Clifford Gayley presented an overview. Second floor improvements include the relocation and doubling in size of the children’s library, new teen space, first in the nation tween space, with use of lighting, colors, and shapes to bring warmth and energy to spaces. The Library’s entire collection is being refreshed. Discussion followed on exterior improvements. The team continues to work with the Boston Landmarks Commission on removal of the exterior vertical granite screening, known as plinths and replacement of the tinted windows with more transparent and energy efficient glass. Discussion continued with Development Consultant Christopher Gordon on the proposed first floor retail for the corner of Boylston and Exeter streets with a use compatible to the Library’s mission and responsive to public feedback from the Strategic Plan for the Library to be more entrepreneurial. The lower level and mezzanine designs are in early planning and subject to future capital funding.
President Ryan reorded the agenda and called on Director of Library Service Michael Colford for the report on Interim Services at the Central Library. Mr. Colford reported on the the year and a half of staff trainings and meetings to plan for the construction project components to minimize disruption while continuing with the Library’s commitment to provide the best collections and services. There has been extensive review on what stays on the shelves and where collections are located. Discussion followed.
President Ryan introduced Boston Public Library Special Collections Committee Chairman Brian Clancy for the committee’s annual report. Mr. Clancy expressed appreciation for the leadership of the Trustees and the President. The Compass Principals have provided a vision and framework for the committee. Financial and volunteer support has been vital for preservation of the library’s treasures with the Associates of the Boston Public Library leading the way. Mr. Clancy reviewed the committee’s four main objectives: help with preservation and fulfilling the stewardship of one hundred and sixty years of collection; collections management; access to collections; and coordination. Mr. Clancy noted the enormity of the Library’s holdings of four million objects with more than twenty-five million objects now digitized. With the support and leadership of the Trustees, eighteen Collections of Distinction were launched in the spring an important step in maintaining these vast historic collections. The Collections Development Policy was revised for the first time since the 1980s with new committee members bringing a fresh perspective and broad expertise. Mr. Clancy recognized committee member William Stoneman in the audience.
Mr. Clancy turned to Keeper of Special Collections Susan Glover for a continuation of the committee report. Ms. Glover highlighted the committee’s contributions in bringing the year and a half process of the development of the Collections of Distinction to a successful conclusion. Ms. Glover noted that acquisitions provided lively discussions. Ms. Glover then showcased several treasurers.
President Ryan reviewed the Boston Public Library Fiscal Year 2015 budget timeline preliminary draft.
President Ryan spoke to the next two agenda items to name the Community Room at the East Boston Branch Library the Mayor Thomas M. Menino Community Room and to name the Learning Lab at the Hyde Park Branch Library the Mayor Thomas M. Menino Learning Lab. Each naming follows the Trustees’ Criteria for Renaming Boston Public Library Branches adopted by the Trustees in May 2003.
On a motion made and duly seconded, it was
VOTED: that, the Trustees of the Public Library of the City of Boston approve naming the Community Room at the East Boston Branch the Mayor Thomas M. Menino Community Room
And, on a motion made and duly seconded, it was
VOTED: that, the Trustees of the Public Library of the City of Boston approve naming the Learning Lab at the Hyde Park Branch the Mayor Thomas M. Menino Learning Lab
Chairman Rudman called for new business. Trustee La Camera asked about the October Boston Book Festival at the Library. President Ryan praised the event stating there were large crowds, great authors and panel discussions, and it was good for the Library. The book festival will need to find a new venue for the next two years due to the Johnson Building construction.
There being no old business, the Chairman called for public comment.
Discussion included the new Mayor and his commitment to the Johnson Building Project; underscoring health and safety issues during the construction project; support for retail in the Johnson Building; a welcome to Trustee DeBonis with appreciation for her experience; and gratitude for the new East Boston Branch.
On a motion made, the meeting adjourned at 4:45 PM and the Trustees met in an Executive Session.
Clerk of the Board