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Full text of "Annual report"

(DOCUMENT 15 — 1983) 



|j% BOSTONIA. ;m) 
»j^ CONDITAJDl ^IJ 



ANNUAL REPORT 

of the 

BOSTON PUBLIC LIBRARY 

For the Year Ending June 30, 1982 

and 

REPORT OF THE EXAMINING COMMITTEE 

for 1981 



TRUSTEES OF THE PUBLIC LIBRARY 



ARTHUR F. F. SNYDER 
President 



PAUL PARKS 
Vice President 



MICHO F. SPRING 



JAMES V. YOUNG 



PHILIP J. McNIFF 
Director and Librarian 



BOSTON PUBLIC LIBRARY 1 

To the Board of Trustees of the Boston Public Library: 

Again in Fiscal Year 81/82 the Library — like other City 
departments — coped with a "state of diminution": 
diminished budget, diminished staff, diminished hours, 
diminished maintenance. But this period of economic 
strictures was approached with a positive, concerted 
staff/public effort to make any negative effects short- 
range; in short, the continuing goal remained one 
dedicated to growth and development. 

General Library/Research Library Services 

The pace and volume of service to library users seemed 
unabated in FYS 1/82 despite cutbacks in hours, person- 
nel, and acquisitions. Both Library administrators and 
staff worked to obviate any long-range damage to 
Library collections or reputation for service by treating 
cutbacks in budget as a temporary obstacle. As a result, 
major activities and projects were brought to comple- 
tion and important acquisitions were processed. 

All the service centers of the Library in branches and 
Central responded to user needs by telephone, mail, 
and person-to-person consultations. Humanities 
Reference continued to function as the virtual answer 
center for hundreds of daily queries. Social Sciences 
likewise continued with the essential "basics" of ser- 
vice. Staff members also proceeded on work with the 
massive bibliography of Boston, 1930-1980. 

Government Documents moved forward in several 
directions despite limitations in staff and storage space. 
Departmental publications included a brochure describ- 
ing services. In process at this time are finding lists to 
numbered Boston city documents and to American 
State Trials, also a revision of Government Publica- 
tions on Microform in the Boston Public Library. 
Substantial gifts to the department continued this year, 
among the donors: the Boston Redevelopment Authori- 
ty, Brandeis University, and the State Library. 

Government Documents continued to contribute and 



2 CITY DOCUMENT NO. 1 5 

benefit from its participation in the Government Print- 
ing Office depository program, the Center for Massa- 
chusetts Data, the Library of Congress Documents Ex- 
pediting Project, and NELINET Government Docu- 
ments Task Force. In a highpoint of the year, the 
department joined with the latter group to co-host a 
reception for members of the Depository Library Coun- 
cil to the Public Printer. 

Activities w^ithin the Fine Arts Department remained 
undiminished by staff shortages. The collection was 
considerably strengthened by acquisition through pur- 
chase and gift of valuable retrospective exhibition 
catalogs and other research tools. The role of 
volunteers in the department continued successfully. 
Thanks to such contributions of expertise and time, the 
indexing of all Boston Building Inspector's Reports was 
completed with work on cross-referencing continuing, 
also the identification of city architectural blueprints 
and documents; and work on the Willietta G. Ball Col- 
lection in preparation for integrating it into the Boston 
Art Archives. In a highpoint of the year, the department 
served as host for the national conference of ARLIS/NA 
(Art Libraries Society of North America). The Library's 
part in the event included talks by Charles Childs and 
Barbara Swan and a reception for some 400 society 
members. 

In FY 1982 the Science Reference Department pro- 
ceeded with changes undertaken the prior year, many 
of them funded by the Library's grant from the Office of 
Energy-Related Inventions. As part of this grant, the 
staff performs online searches for inventors, aided by 
the addition of three important database services. The 
staff also compiled an annotated reading list, "Books 
for Inventors," and created a resource file of organiza- 
tions of interest to inventors. 

A successful lecture series was sponsored this year 
dealing with many aspects of inventing — from protec- 
ting ideas and patenting to bringing inventions to the 
marketplace. Speakers were Commissioner of Patents, 



BOSTON PUBLIC LIBRARY 3 

Gerald J. Mossinghoff; C. Richard Reese, Harvard 
Business School; Harold E. Edgerton, formerly of 
M.I.T.; patent attorney Martin J. O'Donnell; Robert H. 
Rines, President of Franklin Pierce Law Center; David 
Jansson, M.I.T.; Karl H. Vesper, University of 
Washington. 

By spring the Library was able to access the U.S. 
Patent and Trademark Office's CASSIS (Classification 
and Search Support Information System), a dial-up ac- 
cess hitherto only available to patrons at the Public 
Search Room of the Patent Office in Washington. 
Another significant development for the Department 
was the recentralization of the patent collection which 
resulted in the move of all patents on microfilm to the 
Science Department. 

The record of the Microtext Department this year — 
mainly successful — may be spelled out in a few words: 
heavy patron usage and need for additional space and 
storage facilities. The accelerated receipt of microforms 
(the U.S. Government Printing Office alone sent out ap- 
proximately 35,000 fiche this year) mandates additional 
space. 

The acquisition of microform materials considerably 
strengthened library resources. Among the acquisitions 
were 77?^ Spanish Plays Collection, consisting of more 
than 8,000 19th and 20th century works published in 
Spain; in genealogy. Early Massachusetts Town Records 
and the Genealogy and Local History collection. 
Newspaper resources were strengthened by receipt of 
files of the Neivburyport Herald, 1899-1915, and the 
Boston News Bureau, 1918-1934. 

In summation, it should be noted here that the 
growth of microform holdings reflects this decade's vir- 
tual revolution in delivery of information. As the 
departmental report this year expresses it, "The picture 
now so clearly emerging is truly momentuous: rapid, 
high use reference service is definitely shifting away 
from the printed, book format to data base and micro- 
formats, and the end of changing technology is 



4 CITY DOCUMENT NO. 1 5 

nowhere in sight as the video disk begins to make its 
appearance." 

Several factors this year expedited the work of the 
Interlibrary Loan Department. Installation of a terminal 
with catalog and location data on-line made catalog 
searching more efficient. Direct shipment of loan 
materials for the Western Regional Library System from 
the headquarters library rather than individual member 
libraries and the use of a parcel service to the Taunton 
subregion have also expedited service. The most time- 
saving situation has been the keypunching of reserve 
cards directly from teletype request slips. 

Special projects were numerous this year in Inter- 
library Loan. Workshops were offered for interlibrary 
and reference staff from the Boston sub-region. The 
workshops, dealing with on-line reference service at the 
BPL and interlibrary loan service, were presented in 
cooperation with Mrs. Suzanne Gray, head of Science 
Reference. Staff members were also involved in the 
preparation of lists, including lists of Russian books and 
recently acquired Vietnamese books, thus expediting 
access to these collections for area libraries. 

Catalog Information staff continued vigorously giv- 
ing telephone and in-person information. 

The Rare Books and Manuscripts Department under- 
went much development this fiscal year as a result of a 
grant from Title II-C of the Higher Education Act. Sup- 
ported by this federal funding, a center for conservation 
of library materials was fully established with person- 
nel, equipment, supplies. There are two laboratories, 
one for book conservation and the other for paper 
(document) conservation. Located in the heart of the 
Rare Books Department, the Center achieves two goals: 
proximity to the Rare Books Department for repairing 
departmental materials, and security in location. 
Already conservation work has proceeded with the col- 
lections of John Adams and Nathaniel Bowditch. 

In line with staff shortages throughout the Library, 
Rare Books has faced a growing backlog of cataloging. 



BOSTON PUBLIC LIBRARY 5 

Staff time is also increasingly demanded in cartography 
and in queries related to City of Boston records. Much 
time was devoted to preparation of exhibits on George 
Washington, Barcelona and Its Publishing, and the New 
England church in the 17th Century. 

Among the important rarities acquired for depart- 
ment collections were De officio mari ti Liber unus 
(Basilaea, 1540); Le miroir politique by Guillaume de La 
Perriere (Paris, 1567); Richard Elton's The compleat 
body of the art military (London, 1659); and Jesuits' 
Letters from missions (Rome, 1615)- 



Programs 

In addition to providing films for thousands of viewers 
in community organizations, the Audio-Visual Depart- 
ment continued its record of fine series programming 
within the Library. Among the series: Astaire and 
Rogers' Dance Time; Portraits in Courage in observance 
of the International Year of Disabled Persons; Connec- 
tions, a 10-part BBC series exploring the history of in- 
ventions; Comedy Kings; Showtime, featuring film 
musicals; and two series of films by eminent directors 
John Huston and Frank Capra. 

Programming directed to the special interests and 
needs of specific age levels operated on a high level of 
vitality this year in branch libraries and Central. Films 
were frequently used as well as lectures, discussions, 
storytelling and demonstration formats. Once again a 
major event in the field of children's literature was 
Children's Books International 7 which this year turned 
to authorities from Spain, Israel, Mexico, Switzerland, 
Norway, and Japan. 

Endowed lectureships contributed notably in 
1981-82 to the Library's role in furthering research and 
scholarship. In the l6th annual Wiggin Symposium, 
Francis Comstock, extraordinary collector, educator, 
and architect was honored. Panelists in the program 
were Comstock' s nephew Cornelius Vermeule, Curator 



6 CITY DOCUMENT NO. 1 5 

of Classical Art, Boston Museum of Fine Arts; John Ben- 
son, proprietor of the John Stevens shop in Newport, 
R.I.; Charles Childs, Honorary Keeper of Prints; and 
Sinclair Hitchings, Keeper of Prints, Boston Public 
Library. Exhibited for the occasion were many of the 
gifts which Comstock had made to the Library art 
which reflected his interest in the English landscape and 
in English architecture. 

For the 9th annual WiUiam A. Dwiggins Lecture, 
Peter Davison, poet and Poetry Editor of the Atlantic 
Monthly, spoke on "125 Years of the Atlantic." He ex- 
plored the literary, intellectual, and social impact of the 
magazine on American life. 

The 1982 Charlotte Cushman Lecture brought noted 
Broadway /off Broadway director David Wheeler to the 
podium. Wheeler spoke on "Theater's Uneasy 
Romance: The Director/Actor Relationship." 

One of the oldest annual programs is the awarding of 
the Mary U. Nichols Book Prizes. Miss Nichols served as 
Branch Librarian at the North End and was much belov- 
ed by that community. At the time of her sudden death 
in 1949 a local committee instituted a fund in her 
memory to support two awards to North End high 
school graduates in recognition of their scholastic 
achievement in their senior year. This year marked the 
34th annual ceremony. Keynote speaker was Nancy J. 
Caruso, Professor of Cooperative Education at North- 
eastern University and a resident of the North End. 

Continuing the Learning Library format of the 
National Endowment for the Humanities Program, the 
Library brought several distinguished authors to the lec- 
ture hall who offered readings of their works or shared 
their philosophy and experiences. From Trinidad, poet 
Derek Walcott demonstrated in readings and commen- 
tary how he "handles English with a close under- 
standing of its inner magic." Henry Augustine Tate, 
Professor of Humanities, New England Conservatory of 
Music, spoke on James Joyce, the "literary genius whose 
words were always music." Other presentations by 



BOSTON PUBLIC LIBRARY 7 

authors included David McCullough lecturing on "T. 
Roosevelt Grows Up: A Biographer's Puzzle"; John 
Irving reading from his novel The Hotel New Hamp- 
shire; Maya Angelou giving background on her 
autobiography The Heart of a Woman; Robert Ludlum 
reflecting on "Writing and on the Ridiculous Onus of 
Being a Writer' ' ; defense lawyer Alan Dershowitz giving 
insight on "The Best Defense"; Calvin Trillen drawing 
witty observations from his Uncivil Liberties: ' Dinner 
at the de la Rentas" and Other Entertainments; and 
Frances Fitzgerald investigating "The Old Guard vs. the 
New Right: The Politics of Sex and Class in America." 

In addition to programs built around lectures and 
symposia, the Library sponsored several important per- 
formances. In a tribute to Walter Piston, the Library 
presented a concert featuring eminent flutist Doriot 
Anthony Dwyer with the Portland String Quartet. 
Other musical events included a Springtime choral Con- 
cert by Youth Pro Musica and Chamber Chorus; a Con- 
cert in the Courtyard by the Huntington Trio; and 
William Miranda's annual preview in sight and sound of 
the Metropolitan Opera's season in Boston. The Library 
joined the music world in saluting the Boston 
Symphony Orchestra on the occasion of its 100th an- 
niversary with a program including remembrances by 
Michael Steinberg, Harry Ellis Dickson, Laning 
Humphrey, and others. 

The national derivations of music were explored in 
several programs, among them: Music in China, in- 
cluding a lecture by Rulan Pian of Harvard and a perfor- 
mance by James Watt of the Museum of Fine Arts on the 
Ch'in, a Chinese zither. Songs of an Ancient Land, 
presented by Trio Live Oak as part of the Library's 
salute to Barcelona, featured the music of Catalunya. In 
still another event, co-sponsored with the Goethe In- 
stitute, the Library presented Goethe's poems set to the 
music of Zelter, Beethoven, Mozart, Schubert, and Ives. 

In repeated instances activities and events in the 
Library were co-sponsored with other community in- 



8 CITY DOCUMENT NO. 1 5 

stitutions. A frequent co-sponsor was the Massachusetts 
Historical Society. Other groups which shared in pro- 
grams and exhibits included the Lowell Institute, the 
Boston Guild for the Hard of Hearing, the NAACP, the 
Goethe Institute, the Society of Children's Book 
Writers, the Harvard Book Store Cafe, and several of the 
Consulates located in Boston. 

Publications 

Coincident with the Print Department's exhibition, the 
Library published Armstrong & Company: Artistic 
Lithographers. Making a valuable addition to the 
literature of arts and crafts, the Library published a 
volume compiled and edited by Karen Evans Ulehla, 
The Society of Arts and Crafts, Boston Exhibition 
Record 1897-1927. Also providing valuable data in the 
field of art is the exhibition chronology and publication 
released by the Library on its eminent neighbor, the 
Childs Gallery. A delightful example of fine book- 
making emerged this past year in the latest volume of 
Bromsen Lectures, Herman Liebaers Small Talk about 
Great Books. 

Exhibits 

Visitors to the Library were treated to continuing, 
dramatic exhibitions of art, photographs, books, manu- 
scripts, and other visual experiences. The range of ex- 
hibit themes was unceasingly eclectic, testament to the 
matching range of the Library's collections. In the ex- 
hibition "Armstrong & Company" the focus was on 
19th century sporting scenes, landscapes, calendars, 
posters, and other works produced by Boston's noted 
artistic lithographers. "The Seventeenth Century 
Church in New England" brought together rare prints, 
portraits, and sermons which evoked the sometimes 
controversial history of the early church. 

In observance of the 250th anniversary of the birth of 
George Washington, the Library offered an extensive 



BOSTON PUBLIC LIBRARY 9 

exhibit. Included was a brief display of a treasure own- 
ed by the Library, i.e., the gold medal presented to the 
first president by the Continental Congress in honor of 
his wartime achievements. 

Boston has served as birthplace and homeland of an 
impressive roster of creative people. One such artist 
was recognized this past year with a substantial retro- 
spective of his works. Born in East Boston, Irwin D. 
Hoffman developed his artistic talents in many direc- 
tions, in sculpture, music, printmaking, watercolors, 
and oils. The Library mounted a substantial showing of 
Hoffman's works, many of which have been donated to 
the Library. Subsequent to the exhibition, the Library 
published a handsome volume of Hoffman's art as well 
as lectures on the artist by noted critic Mahonri S. 
Young and Sinclair Hitchings and Tess Cederholm of 
the staff. 

Eastern Massachusetts Regional Library System 

During FY82 the Eastern Massachusetts Regional 
Library System operated for the full year on a budget 
based on an appropriation of sixty cents per capita. On- 
going programs of service such as interlibrary loan, 
reference, delivery, consulting services, and special 
programs were maintained. 

Accomplishments included development and im- 
plementation of new supply order forms for member 
libraries; relocation of the Cape Cod Deposit Center to 
rental space in the Hyannis Public Library; the begin- 
nings of a micro-computer network among the contrac- 
ting libraries in the Region, and the printing and 
distribution of a new brochure about the Region. Staff 
continued to provide consulting service to librarians 
and trustees on a wide variety of topics. As a result of 
funding by a Library Services and Construction Act 
grant, installation of twenty-eight CRT terminals was 
begun with some twenty agreements negotiated with 
libraries before the end of the fiscal year. Marking her 



10 CITY DOCUMENT NO. 15 

tenth year as Regional Administrator, Mary A. 
Heneghan recognized the positive approach of regional 
personnel and public in times of cutbacks and 
shortages. 

Boston Library Consortium 

During FY 198 1/1982, the Boston Public Library con- 
tinued to play a vital role in the activities of the Boston 
Library Consortium and to realize many benefits from 
the on-going cooperative programs sponsored by the 
Consortium. 

Principal among Consortium activities in 1981/1982 
were the completion of the Serials Review Project and 
the decision to participate in the development of the 
new union list system by the F.W. Faxon Company. The 
Serials Review Project, which was sponsored by an 
LSCA grant awarded by the Massachusetts Board of 
Library Commissioners, examined duplication and use 
of serial titles in two selected subject areas. Final evalua- 
tion of the results and plans for further projects based 
on the results are planned for FY 1982/ 1983. 

The Consortium has always sought to make use of the 
latest technology to produce an up-to-date, compre- 
hensive and accurate union list of serials. In the spring 
of 1982 the Consortium agreed to work with the F.W. 
Faxon Company in an advisory capacity on the 
development of a new union list system. At the conclu- 
sion of the design phase, it is anticipated that the Con- 
sortium will become a test site for the new system. 
Funding sources for the conversion of data are current- 
ly being explored. 

Staff development programs sponsored by the Con- 
sortium included major programs on binding and com- 
munications skill, a workshop on the Committee Prints 
collections housed at the Boston Public Library, and 
tours of the Acme Bookbinding Company and the F.W. 
Faxon Company. In addition, individual committees 



BOSTON PUBLIC LIBRARY 1 1 

continued to sponsor informal workshops and informa- 
tion sharing activities. 

In the spring the Board of Directors regretfully ac- 
cepted the resignation of Joanna Walsh after three years 
of outstanding service as the Consortium Coordinator. 
Peter Gragg, Assistant to the Coordinator, served as 
Acting Coordinator until the appointment of the new 
coordinator, Ann Schaffner, on June 1. 



I wish to take this occasion to express my appreciation 
to the members of the library staff for their cooperation 
and service during the past year and to thank the 
members of the Board of Trustees for their support. 

Philip J. McNiff, 
Director, and Librarian 



12 



CITY DOCUMENT NO. 15 
Table 1. Circulation 
BOOK CIRCULATION 



Fiscal 
1980 



Fiscal 
1981 



Fiscal 
1982 



Central Library 755,733 570,381* 418,574* 

Extension Services 

Bookmobile 37,900 12,128** — 

Homesmobile 33,194 39,326 40,834 

Deposits 66,543 99,090 

AdamsStreet 57,609 51,598 45,262 

Allston 26,395 18,731*** — 

Brighton 68,361 64,335 72,669 

Charlestown 43,347 42.010 46,231 

CodmanSquare 40,158 37,266 32,751 

Connolly 27,079 28,385 23,796 

Dudley 26,612 25,432 30,252 

East Boston 41,694 33,009 39,474 

Egleston Square 24,049 20,524 1 1,892 

Faneuil 31,117 22,729 14,855 

Fields Corner 66,510 68,648 48,692 

Grove Hall 31,829 25,664 22,727 

Hyde Park 84,940 75,287 75,071 

JamaicaPlain 46,308 36,221 32,247 

LowerMills 25,458 22,853 24,912 

Mattapan 20,084 13,730 11,075 

North End 28,373 24,074 23,828 

Orient Heights 30,793 35,044 20,428 

ParkerHill 19,933 18,192 19,616 

Roslindale 71,940 62,980 60,772 

South Boston 55,402 59,605 67,756 

South End 22,305 17,676 16,144 

Uphams Corner 28,242 19,838 19,333 

West End 46,495 44,965 41,172 

WestRoxbury 124,115 101,563 94,961 

Hospital Library Service 17,001 6,001** — 

Multilingual Library 17,516 5,680** — 

Total Branches 1,194,759 1,033,494 1,035,840 

Total Entire Library 1,950,492 1,670,418 1,454,414 

* No Sunday service; Saturday service suspended. 
•• Closed December 1, 1980 
**• Closed June 25, 1981 



BOSTON PUBLIC LIBRARY 13 

NON-BOOK CIRCULATION 





Fiscal 
1980 


Fiscal 
1981 


Fiscal 
1982 


Films 


48,756 

64,732 

113.488 


43,301 

47,797 
91,098 


37 024 


Recordings* and Audio Cassettes 

Total 

'Included in Table 1. Circulation 


37,815 
74,839 



INTERLIBRARY LOAN 



Books 14,689 14,273 1 1,261 



PHOTOREPRODUCTION 



Photocopies (Interlibrary Loan). 130,674* 18,300 18,260 

Microfilm photocopies — 459,683 410,730 

Public photocopies — 1,325,977 850,450 

Total 1,803,960 1,279,440 



Tabic 2. Growth of the Library 
BOOKS 



General Library: 

Volumes added 1 19,394 57,223 48,600 

Volumes withdrawn 10,352 68,359 67,489 

TotalonHand 2,159,502 2,148,366 2,129,477 

Research Library: 

Volumes added 69,719 60,281 57,010 

Volumes withdrawn — — 39 

TotalonHand 2,699,548 2,729,829 2,786,800 

Total Book Stock 4,829,050 4,878,195 4,916,277 



14 



CITY DOCUMENT NO. 15 
BOOK AND NON-BOOK HOLDINGS 



Fiscal 
1980 



Fiscal 
1981 



Fiscal 
1982 



PRINT MATERIALS: 

Volumes 4,829,050 4,878,195 4,916,277 

Serial subscriptions 16,464 10,172 10,172 

Special Collections: 

Rare Books 250,000 t 252,234 

Rare manuscripts 

letters, etc 750,908 t 764,100 

Letters, books, etc. 

on Prints 2,607 t 2,700 

Patents: USA 4,209,857 4,276,557 4,337,336 

Patents: Foreign 2,178,696 2,198,556 2.219,475 

Sheet Maps 302,500 306,900 310,200 

Government Documents .. 2,030,022 2,088,892 2,151,657 

NON-PRINT MATERIALS 

Cassettes 23,900* 25,708 26,213 

Audio-Recordings 230,832* 235,461 237,878 

Films, 16mm 9,760 10,295 10,410 

Filmstrips 62 1 62 1 62 1 

Slide Sets (including 

lantern slides) 7,077 7,077 7,077 

Projected Books 178 178 178 

Videotapes 489 529 529 

Video Cassettes 161 161 161 

Reel-to-Reel Tapes 1,902 1,902 1,902 

Art Prints 162,915 162,915 162,915 

Photographs 537,447 537,447 537,447 

Glass Negatives 40,603 40,603 40,603 

Picture Collection 199,371 199,37 If 199,371 

Postcards 148,999 148,999 148,999 

MICROFORMS 

Microcards 11,861 11,851 11,861 

Microfiche (sheets) 583,120 706,938* 801,352 

Microfilm (reels) 100,407 104,250 106,121 

Microfilm (master negatives) .. . 6,245* 6,295 6,295 

Microprints (boxes) 5,312 5,560 5.763 

Aperture cards 40,620t 43,965 48,457 

* Corrected total. 

t Adjusted total. Statistics reported in prior years have been 

redistributed 
t Inventory not yet completed 



BOSTON PUBLIC LIBRARY 1 5 

Table 3- Cataloging Statistics 



Fiscal Fiscal Fiscal 

1980 1981 1982 



Volumes processed 189,113 133,424 105,610 

New Titles cataloged 50,608 46,559 37,598 

Original cataloging 7,596 

NUC cataloging 4,340 

LC cataloging 38,022 

Rare Book cataloging 876 

Films 1,323 

Recordings 362 

Cassettes 256 

Sound Archives 5,860 



6,714 


5,810 


3,981 


1,063 


34,839 


28,455 


437 


270 


535 


115 


259 


278 


188 


458 


4,387 


4,525 



Table 4. Binding 



Volumes Bound 48,369 38,493 34,315" 

•Production rate diminished due to relocation of Bindery to Central 
Library and installation of new machinery. 



16 



CITY DOCUMENT NO. 1 5 



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REPORT OF THE EXAMINING COMMITTEE 
FOR 1981 



3 December 1981 



18 



REPORT OF THE EXAMINING COMMITTEE 



Members of the Examining Committee for 1981 



Thomas B. Adams Frances Howe, Vice-Chairman 



L. Rex Anderson 



Richard E. Nicolazzo 



Bruce A. Beal 
John W. Calkins 
Allan R. Crite 



Edwin L. Francis 



John J. Perkins 



Guido A. Rothrauff, Jr. 



Alford P. Rudnick 



Joseph Edinburg Francis W. Sidlauskas 



Edward T. Tobin 



BOSTON PUBLIC LIBRARY 19 

Introduction 

The Examining Committee met on June 9, 1981 in the 
Trustees Room of the Boston Public Library. The 
meeting was addressed by the Director and attended by 
several representatives of groups concerned with the 
decrease in quantity and quality of library service 
available to the entire community. At the time of the 
meeting the city had not allocated specific funds to the 
Library. The funding situation is still unclear in 
November as we submit our report. 

The report of the Examining Committee is not a full 
report on the condition of the library system but rather 
an inquiry into three areas — Services to the Public, 
Buildings, and Public Relations. As a result of the 
material made available to the Committee and analysis 
of the environment in which the Library now operates, 
the Report of the Examining Committee takes the form 
of a series of recommendations. 

In looking back over the years since the last printed 
report of the Examining Committee, one sees a 
remarkable record of outstanding achievements which 
can be pointed at with justifiable pride. The city has 
been generous with its support and the leadership of the 
Library has been wise, courageous, and far-seeing. We 
are now entering a time where the climate of popular 
opinion has changed and the Library must fight to retain 
its gains and to continue its forward momentum. 

Recommendations 

The overriding reality of the past year has been the cut- 
back in funding for the Boston Public Library. The 
results of this cutback are evident everywhere. Services 
have been cut, maintenance has been delayed, staffing 
has been greatly reduced and security has become 
tenuous. 



20 REPORT OF THE EXAMINING COMMITTEE 

Funds and Fundraising 

To restore the equilibrium of the library system and 
to provide for its future development, the Examining 
Committee recommends: 

I. that the Trustees appoint a committee to 
develop a long range fiscal plan which will ad- 
dress the issues of maintaining adequate opera- 
ting income, and increasing the Library's perma- 
nent endowment. 

II. that the Trustees establish an Office of Funds 
and Fundraising. 

In line with the current trend towards the greater use 
of volunteers, the Committee recommends: 

Volunteers 

I. that the Trustees appoint a committee to define 
and develop the role of the volunteer within the 
library system. 
II. that the Trustees appoint a director of 
volunteers to work with staffs of both the Cen- 
tral Library and the Branches to train, place, and 
supervise volunteers. 

The Committee believes that a strong Friends group 
could provide a strong public relations presence, could 
be a source of financial support, a reservoir of future 
donors of collections as well as a reservoir of 
volunteers. The Committee recommends: 

Friends 

I. that the Trustees appoint a committee to explore 
and define organization, goals, and programs for 
the Friends. 

II. that the Trustees appoint a full-time professional 
as staff for the Friends. 

At present. Public Relations is handled by the Office 
of Programs and Public Relations and there is no 



BOSTON PUBLIC LIBRARY 2 1 

specific budget for Public Relations. The Committee 
recommends: 

Public Relations 

I. that there be an office of Public Relations 
operated in conjunction with the Office of 
Funds and Fund-raising. 

Members of the Committee on Services to the Public 
visited about half of the branch libraries. Suggested 
topics for discussion were mailed in advance and the 
visitors took a lengthy questionnaire. It soon became 
evident that the problems developing out of 
diminishing funding were exacerbated by a felt lack of 
adequate communication downwards from the policy 
makers and to the staff. Therefore, the Examining Com- 
mittee recommends: 

Communications 

I. that the Trustees appoint a committee consisting 
of a representative of the Director, a representa- 
tive of the Trustees, and at least three members 
selected by the staff to examine current patterns 
and procedures for communication between the 
staff and the policy makers to communicate fre- 
quently, easily and productively on all matters 
of mutual concern, and to insure that no deci- 
sions are reached without input from those con- 
cerned. 

Since 1967-1968 the Examining Committee has not 
produced a printed report and appears to have lacked 
structure and a sense of purpose. Therefore, the Ex- 
amining Committee recommends: 

Committee format 

I. that the Examining Committee return to the 
earlier format with the Chairman of the Trustees 
as Chairman and with the members of the Com- 



22 REPORT OF THE EXAMINING COMMITTEE 

mittee appointed by the Trustees. 
II. that the membership of the Committee be con- 
siderably enlarged and that the members be 
selected so as to insure that ail groups and in- 
terests in the Boston community are adequately 
represented. 

III. that the Examining Committee report to the 
Trustees on all phases of the Boston Public 
Library. 

IV. that the report of the Examining Committee be 
printed annually and be made available to the 
public. 



Report of the Subconunittee on Buildings 

Part I Main Library 

The Johnson (new) building is a beautifully designed 
well-built facility that has been maintained in an ex- 
cellent condition. It is now ten years old and just begin- 
ning to show wear in a few places. It will, in the next 
ten years, require much more maintenance than in the 
past ten years as certain motors, valves, fans, floor 
covering, painting, roofing, and other items with 
limited useful lives require repair and/or replacement. 
Though this may appear in these difficult days, a low 
priority, small sums of money should be budgeted on a 
long term basis to maintain this splendid building. 

The McKim (old) building is an equally fine facility, 
but eventually must be altered to serve the City (and 
region's) needs. The subcommittee has not attempted to 
review the McKim building. They will, however, review 
the detailed Stuhl Report now nearing completion and 
will be particularly concerned with priorities for work 
to be done. A report of this type is the obvious first step. 

Needless to say, the subcommittee is particularly con- 
cerned that weather protection and mechanical 
systems, failure of which could cause serious damage to 
artwork and books, be inspected and maintained. 

In a number of suburban libraries certain grounds 



BOSTON PUBLIC LIBRARY 23 

work is done by garden club or other civic groups. The 
present cutbacks in service have encouraged formation 
of citizen groups interested in the library. Now appears 
to be the right time to encourage citizen participation in 
grounds maintenance and improvement. The subcom- 
mittee at this time would not recommend, except in 
very special cases, such participation on or inside 
buildings, because of both management problems and 
possible grievances by unionized maintenance 
employees. It is believed these problems can be over- 
come if limited to exteriors. 

Part II Branch Libraries 

The building subcommittee has many long range ideas 
about improving and upgrading branch library facilities, 
but because of the present financial situation, it is con- 
fining its review and comments at this time to the 
maintenance of existing facilities. The building subcom- 
mittee visited 11 of the 25 branches; generally, but not 
exclusively, the larger, more heavily used units in order 
to obtain a general idea of the level of maintenance and 
over-all quality of the existing facilities. Attached hereto 
are tabulations of observations, impressions, and com- 
ments. 

All the branches almost universally were well- 
designed and probably well-built for the intended pur- 
pose at the time of construction. With a few exceptions, 
cheapest construction was avoided. House keeping in- 
side was generally good, and, considering staff curtail- 
ment, just barely satisfactory outside. Maintenance, 
however, was not being conducted at anything like a 
satisfactory level in order to maintain the property per- 
manently. The subcommittee has been informed by the 
Associate Director that until two years ago about 
$50,000 of routine maintenance was done annually by 
the library employees. Additional maintenance varying 
with circumstances of around $200,000 annually, was 
provided by the Public Facilities Department. This con- 
firms to some extent the subcommittee's observations. 



24 REPORT OF THE EXAMINING COMMITTEE 

Obviously, delayed maintenance will increase the total 
ultimate cost to the city and reduce to some extent the 
quality of service, unless the facility is to be closed and 
abandoned. In addition, it is believed, but not readily 
provable, that delayed maintenance may increase van- 
dalism. Many boarded up windows encourage addi- 
tional breaks. Paper and beer cans not cleaned up seem 
to attract additional litter. To facilitate prompter and 
more efficient maintenance, assuming some additional 
funds will eventually be available, and considering 
higher costs each year, the subcommittee would sup- 
port raising the $2,000 limit of maintenance expen- 
ditures by the library itself. 

The subcommittee expects that with two and three 
days per week operations at six branches, that 
maintenance problems and vandalism will probably in- 
crease, while the total public served is less. Whether 
some of these branches should be closed to conserve 
both building and operational funds for busier bran- 
ches, obviously must be considered if present funding 
levels continue. It is not a subject being addressed by 
this subcommittee. 

A proper subject for this subcommittee to study, but 
not done so far, is energy conservation. Preliminary ex- 
amination of both Edison steam and electric consump- 
tion figures indicate great strides have been made since 
1975 at the central facility where the greatest usage oc- 
curs and where maximum monitoring by library 
management is possible. 

I. Brighton 

A. Architecture and site: excellent for time it was 
built. 

B. Yard: Great possibilities, but maintenance need- 
ed; outdoor reading area possible, but these 
potential amenities appear to work in reverse. 
Vandalism is substantial, and lack of fencing and 
other protection make it hard to control. Plants 



BOSTON PUBLIC LIBRARY 25 

being removed behind building. 

C. Glass: Many large panes of glass broken and fill- 
ed with plywood, some quite recently. Closing 
most of the windows would measurably detract 
from interior atmosphere. Some lower panes 
should be removed, upper ones should be pro- 
vided with heavy rock guards. 

D. Mechanical system: Air conditioning system not 
operating. Repair work is budgeted and will be 
done shortly. 

E. Structural cracks: Cracks in floor at 3 ramps are 
readily apparent, but are of little consequence. 
One crack on bottom of ramp deserves addi- 
tional inspection. 

II. West Roxbury 

A. Architecture and Site: Old (1921), but still effec- 
tive; location excellent, lack of parking is a detri- 
ment, but hopefully the additional church land 
recently acquired by the library can be partially 
used for this purpose. The vacant lot is also 
ideally suited for expansion of the present 
building. The subcommittee has not studied the 
proposal to relocate this branch to a former 
school building or the economics (or lack 
thereof) of doing so. In general the existing 
branch library building is in fair condition and 
can be put in good condition for a modest 
amount of money. The original high quality 
design and construction suggests it could be 
maintained for a long time. 

B. Roof: There are some leaks at the skylight and 
along the rear wall, but the overall roof condi- 
tion is satisfactory. Complete removal of the 
skylight is recommended (It has been covered 
over on the bottom already) for both weather 
and energy reasons. 



26 REPORT OF THE EXAMINING COMMITTEE 

C. Masonry: Pointing and other masonry repairs 
are needed to prevent further deterioration and 
future leaks. A few masonry units need to be 
replaced. 

D. Windows and Wood Trim: In common with 
most branches, the exterior sash needs painting, 
caulking, and glazing maintenance to keep win- 
dows and other exterior wood in sound, 
weathertight condition. 

E. Surface Drains: The storm water run off from 
the hill behind the library is a potential danger. A 
new conservatively designed drainage system 
with inlet behind the building is a minimum re- 
quirement. Preferably the area on the north side 
of the building should be graded a foot or so 
lower so that surface water could flow around 
the building and into Centre Street. If this is not 
done, much more serious flooding of the base- 
ment than has been experienced in the past 
could result. 

III. Grove Hall 

A. Architecture: Exterior wall bearing all concrete 
architecture. Attractive and no graffiti were 
observed on the walls in spite of large white sur- 
faces at low levels. Grounds were like most 
others in need of additional work. There was 
much broken glass in the well-located parking 
area. Long span reinforced concrete buildings of 
this type often have prolonged roof deflection, 
generally not dangerous, but often making the 
roof drainage system ineffective leaving water 
ponded in the middle of the roof span. Water 
that does not drain causes built-up roofs to 
deteriorate. A former librarian at this branch 
reported many leaks, and Mr. Doherty advised 
us that he pumps the roof to avoid excessive 
water build up, which could be a structural pro- 



BOSTON PUBLIC LIBRARY 27 

blem. This is obviously a situation that should be 
corrected. 

B. The building needs a finish floor, preferably a 
carpet. 

C. Glass: Like most other branches, it has con- 
siderable broken glass in the higher windows. 

D. Lighting: It was reported to us the lighting fix- 
tures were of an experimental type requiring 
lamps that are most difficult to obtain. If a 
guaranteed supply cannot be found, the fixtures 
will have to be replaced. 

IV Fields Corner 

A. The new modern facility has a substantial glass 
breakage problem in spite of its very central 
location. Many of the lower windows could be 
bricked up improving energy consumption 
without hurting aesthetics. We would be reluc- 
tant to recommend closing off the higher sash. 
They are smaller, cheaper to replace, and less 
likely to be vandalized, and add to the at- 
mosphere inside. 

V Dudley Street 

A. A new well-maintained facility. Location and 
glass block has prevented vandalism and graffiti 
evidenced elsewhere. 

VI Roslindale 

A. This facility is located right in the center of the 
square similar to the Fields Corner facility, and 
has some glass problem. 

B. Grounds are minimal, but need work. 

C. Large southeasterly windows require drapes in 
order to reduce sun glare. New ones are very 
desirable. 

D. Some exterior wall maintenance needed. 



28 REPORT OF THE EXAMINING COMMITTEE 

VII Hyde Park 

A. Architecture: In spite of its age (1898), the 
building has a pleasant ambiance with good 
stack and reading areas. Site is attractive. 

B. Skylight and some roof leaks; drain pipes need 
repair. 

C. Lighting needs to be replaced. 

D. Masonry needs repointing and repair. 

E. Wood sash needs painting, caulking, etc. 

VIII Charlestown 

A. This is a new modern library building high above 
the main street with excellent aesthetics. The 
rear exterior wall is a gypsum sheathing board 
totally unsuited for its use leaving the building 
unsecure, and shortly may not be watertight. Its 
replacement should be high priority. 

B. Like many other branches, it has many broken 
glass panes including some on the front. Many 
on rear have already been replaced with 
plywood. It is recommended that all the rear 
sash be permanently blocked off. The front lites 
of glass cannot be replaced without severely 
damaging the library image in the area. 

IX East Boston 

A. Like Hyde Park and West Roxbury this unit is 
very old but of nice design. Windows and 
masonry need repair. No roof leaks reported. 

B. Usual glass damage in spite of guards on most 
sash. Again, it is probably advisable to remove 
all glass except that facing Meridian Street. 

X Orient Heights 

A. Site is small, but like the larger branches, its loca- 



BOSTON PUBLIC LIBRARY 29 

tion is a congregating place for people who leave 
their trash on the premises. 

B. Exterior: The exterior of the building is in ex- 
tremely bad condition. All windows are in such 
need for painting, caulking, and glazing, they 
may be too deteriorated to repair. Many panes 
have virtually no putty and are held in place by 
Librarian's book mending tape. The librarian is 
rightfully concerned that a gust of wind could 
blow panes into the building constituting quite a 
hazard. Corner stones are loose and bricks are 
badly in need of repointing. The only redeeming 
feature on the exterior is the ivy which covers 
much of two walls. In winter, the building will 
certainly look even less inviting. 

C. The librarian reported no roof leaks in spite of 
the fact all the ceiling paint has failed. Perhaps 
there were leaks that were repaired, or incorrect 
paint material was used as speculated by the 
librarian. 

D. This building is not owned by the City, but 
owner has not been charging rent recently. 

XI Codman Square 

A. This is a delightful new facility with little van- 
dalism, perhaps because it is so new, and attrac- 
tive. Nonetheless there are a few panes of glass 
that have been broken for some time and not 
replaced. 



Report of the Subcommittee on Public Relations 

The Subcommittee on Public Relations was told that the 
Office of Programs and Public Relations brings together 
three older library units: Programs, Public Relations, 
and Information Services. 



30 REPORT OF THE EXAMINING COMMITTEE 

Over one hundred programs were offered in the Cen- 
tral Library between July 1980 and June 1981. These 
programs included the Writer in Society series, the 
National Endowment for the Humanities Learning 
Library Program, programs co-sponsored with the Har- 
vard Book Store Cafe, the Wiggin Symposium, the 
Bromsen Lecture, the Dwiggins Lecture (presented with 
the help of an outside advisory committee), and many 
others. There were programs offered as well for older 
adults through the Never Too Late series. 

Another level of programming was offered by the 
branches including a variety of films for older adults as 
well as programming for other age levels. In cases 
where branches need city-wide coverage of an event, 
assistance is available through the Office of Programs 
and Public Relations. 

The work of the Office of Programs and Public Rela- 
tions involves writing up and arranging for announce- 
ments, spot announcements, news releases, calendar 
listings for TV, radio, and local newspapers. The 
department is responsible for follow-up work via pic- 
tures, materials delivery and placement checking. 
Materials are distributed through the libraries of the 
Eastern Regional Library System. The department is also 
involved in designing invitations for all library events. 

It was called to the attention of the sub-committee 
that the Public Relations budget is not specific. It was 
noted that calendar listings and photographs in the 
newspapers are generally good, but radio coverage is 
often spotty with public service announcements aired 
at unusual times or not at all. 

The sub-committee inquired as to whether the 
department receives a regular clipping service and was 
told that the New England Newsclip service was discon- 
tinued because of expense. The sub-committee pointed 
out that a clipping service is useful to compare what ap- 
pears with what has been sent out originally, as well as 
to keep generally informed as to media coverage of the 
Library's events. It was pointed out that clipping is 



BOSTON PUBLIC LIBRARY 3 1 

done on a county basis with METRO including 
everything inside the geographical area outlined by 
Route 128. Material is filed into folders by subject. This 
material can then be xeroxed and distributed in-house 
to departments for their information, or to Trustees as a 
Monthly Media Reports. It was brought out by the sub- 
committee that it is also possible to subscribe to a video- 
taping service on an item by item basis. This could serve 
as part of a video annual report of acitivities highlighted 
during the year. 

The staff expressed interest in getting more critical 
reviews of art-related exhibits on a regular baisis. Sugges- 
tions were made that the Libary use the personality of 
the artist in a profile article, contact appropriate 
newspaper editors, film programmers and TV depart- 
ments. 

It appeared to the sub-committee that the editorial 
support of the Library is good, that there is a need to 
distribute announcements and build library image. It 
was suggested that the library staff contact the editors/ 
managers of internal publications of large companies 
and invite them to the library to discuss its programs. 
Specifically it was suggested that library staff make sure 
that credit lines are. given in all instances where library 
materials are used. It was further suggested that Art 
Editors be contacted and asked to visit the library to 
become more familiar with art-related exhibits in the 
effort to increase reviewing of these programs. 

The sub-committee was extremely impressed with 
the work that the Office of Programs and Public Rela- 
tions has done in the face of the most stringent 
budgetary limitations. 

Report of the Subcommittee on Services 
to the Public 

Since December 1st, 1980 there has been a freeze on all 
repair work in the branches and a drastic cutback on 
hours and personnel. Whereas all the branches belong- 
ing to the Boston PubUc Library have been kept open, 



32 REPORT OF THE EXAMINING COMMITTEE 

the hours of service have been cut in half and the 
number of trained librarians reduced. The cut in hours 
is reflected in the cut in circulation. The reduction of 
number of trained librarians puts a strain on the 
librarians who are working and changes the scope of 
the service. Where a trained librarian is familiar with 
the range of available material and can advise a bor- 
rower on the appropriate material, the average untrain- 
ed assistant cannot have the depth or breadth of 
knowledge of the library school graduate. 

There is a fear expressed that with this cutback in 
trained librarians that a generation of children will be 
lost to reading. The branches appeared to be responsive 
to the needs of the library users in their communities 
but the committee wonders if it would be possible for 
an individual branch to put in for a book or books re- 
quested by its readers and have the selection committee 
review the requests and where reasonably possible com- 
ply rather than having the branches limited to the cur- 
rent system of preselection by the Central Library staff. 

The collections in the branches visited by the com- 
mittee members all suffered from losses and lack of 
replacements due to inadequate funding. The buildings 
themselves were all in need of repair to a greater or 
lesser degree. The branch libraries are dependent on the 
local police for protection and the sense of security 
varied. 

In the Boston Public Library system there are at pre- 
sent twenty-four branches, two of which have become 
reading rooms. The definition of a reading room is a 
library staffed by a person or persons without formal 
librarian's training. The present policy is to keep as 
many branches as possible open so that the entire 
population of the city of Boston will be served. Current- 
ly within one and one half miles of every resident of the 
city there is a library facility. 

Though the rapport between the branch librarians, 
their staffs and the supervisors appeared to be good, 
there was a pervading sense that "they" did not com- 



BOSTON PUBLIC LIBRARY 33 

municate, that the communication downward was not 
satisfactory. 

Since December there have been a number of citizens 
groups concerned with the cutback of library services. 
These people see their branch libraries as a vital part of 
the intellectual and spiritual lives of their communities. 
It is to be hoped that the energy of these citizens groups 
can be harnassed constructively and productively both 
as a lobbying force and a source of help in the branches 
and the central library, and that their concerns will be 
addressed as quickly as possible. 

The Committee believes that the people supervising 
as well as those working in the branches are doing a 
very fine job under the most difficult circumstances. 



BOSTON 



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