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BPL offers president's job to current interim president

The Boston Public Library's board of trustees today offered the president's job to the man who's been running the BPL system since the last permanent president left.

David Leonard accepted the job, the week after the trustees' first choice decided not to leave San Jose, CA. A third finalist, from Chicago, withdrew her name before the board's initial vote.

Trustee Chairman Bob Gallery praised Leonard, who has been interirm president since the last fulltime president, Amy Ryan, left last year:

The Board of Trustees and I have full confidence that the Boston Public Library has a bright future ahead with David Leonard as President; his leadership capabilities and vision over the past year have kept this great institution evolving and innovating, and we know that will continue for years to come.

Leonard, previously BPL director of administration and technology, oversaw the overhaul of the library system's network infrastructure and oversaw the $78-million revamp of the Copley Square central library.

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Wasn't the "overhaul of the library system's network infrastructure" primarily overseen by people at city hall?

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Likewise, wasn't the renovation overseen by the city's capital construction department? The building is owned by the city, not the library.

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$78m spent on a library renovation? With the internet and kindles, it's an obsolete building.

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Nobody cares about historic buildings and important architecture.

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I welcome you to make the trip to Copley Square to visit the BPL, although the renovations are not yet complete. The changes are extraordinary.

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I've been told some of the tables cost $10k each.

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Libraries in the US are being used now more than ever, for ever changing reasons (hence renovations). From 99-'08, yearly visits increased & total circulated items (books, films, tv shows, music, art) went from 1.69 billion to 2.28. From "Part of Our Lives", by Wayne Weingard. Read it if you really think libraries are dead.
Its like saying we don't need schools because the internet has all the information in textbooks and youtube instructional videos.

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It's a vast improvement over the soulless hulk they basically gutted and started over with. And it's pretty busy in here.

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Did you have a chance to peak in on the first floor, which is officially opening July9? The Boylston entrance space is now viewable from the sidewalk. What I see is 1970s-era middle school design "enhanced" by ubiquitous plasma screens. Honestly, I am wondering if Jill Bourne got a tour and saw all of that orange and blue and decided she just could not even.

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Lots of pastel-ish colors, swoopy and curvy dividers and lots of chairs. So sort of like what the upper floor, where the children's and teen rooms are now.

I guess we just have to de gustibus non est disputandem and all that. Especially compared to what it's replacing, I like it. I find it much more inviting - and only wish they'd maybe extended the top most floor across that vast empty space of an atrium they're keeping.

I admit, in the summer, I'll probably still head to the old wing's courtyard (where I would have worked today, except all the tables were taken) or the reading room, because it just feels like a grand, majestic library to me, and I'm kind of used to that. But again, the new wing no longer feels like the waiting room in Beetlejuice. And fortunately, Copley's big enough it can have both the old-school and new-wavish types of areas.

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Gee, why the Latin, today of all days? :) Of course, the courtyard and the reading room are peerless public spaces in our city.

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So there's a cafe & WGBH studio is there, Adam is there on his laptop, not doing research in some encyclopedias or digging through the geography books researching Indonesia. A library is for books/reading, not TV, music, films and surfing the web. It's barely a library, it's more of a Community Center. Did they eradicate the mold problem with some of that 85M of pork?

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Yeah, I came for the WiFi and, well, stayed for the WiFi. But I shared a table with some buy with this huge binder with what looked like about a billion bookmarks and notations and he was definitely doing research of the old-fashioned kind.

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A library is for books/reading, not TV, music, films and surfing the web.

Says who? I know librarians and they certainly dont think this is true. It is in addition to what you think of as a library a community center, why does that bother you? What part of Boston do you live in that you feel the library is a waste of residents tax money?

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The mission of the Boston Public Library is to preserve and provide access to the historical record of our society and to serve the cultural, educational and informational needs of the people of the City and the Commonwealth.

A somewhat broader mission than "for books/reading" since educational and informational needs are also met by public lectures and meetings, digital media and cultural performances. As a public television station, I would expect that WGBH will enhance that mission. I doubt very much there is a library in this country that does not provide some digital access at it's facility, in line with their mission of public information access.

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I wonder if Jill Bourne realized that she dodged a bullet. I joked to a friend about driving down to San Jose from WA and warning her to stay away. Anyone with motivation and drive to do good work has their spirit crushed by working at BPL. Many senior managers under Leonard's oversight as Director of Admin and Tech are perfect examples of ineffective leaders and incompetent public sector hacks. Nothing is going to change by promoting someone internal to the president position.

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I mean, bringing in an outsider that has built up a major public library would be a good way to get rid of the old culture. Therefore, you should have driven from Seattle to San Jose to encourage her to take the job.

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Read more about Boston Public Library staff in The Real Sheet Newsletter of the B.P.L.P.S.A. Boston Public Library Staff Association
http://bplpsa.info/contents/?page_id=92

Statewide discussion list for Massachusetts Libraries
http://mblc.state.ma.us/sympa/info/allregions
http://mblc.state.ma.us/mblc/lists/

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Interesting that upgrading the network infrastructure is mentioned at one of David Leonard's accomplishments, yet two of the BPL IT manager positions have been vacant for 6+ months. That can't be a good sign.

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I am at the Copley Branch 2-3 times a week, and I have certainly not seen appreciable improvements in the network infrastructure, or WiFi. While the digital book collection is getting better, there are still too many books that are only available in physical form.

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