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Full text of "Annual report"

ANNUAL REPORT 'EXAMINING REPORT 










BOSTON PUBLIC LIBRARY 



1983 - 1984 



BOSTON PUBLIC LIBRARY 



Annual Report 



For the Year Ending June 30, 1983 




Report of 
THE EXAMINING COMMITTEE 

1 April 1983-31 March 1984 



Document 15-1984 



Annual Report 
of the 

BOSTON PUBLIC LIBRARY 

for the Year Ending June 30, 1983 



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 

On June 30th, after eighteen years as Director and Librarian, 
PhiUp J. McNiff officially brought to a close a chapter in Bos- 
ton Public Library history. Gratitude was expressed by the 
Trustees for his distinguished leadership and numerous contri- 
butions on behalf of library interests at the state, national, and 
international level. Mr. McNiff was subsequently appointed and 
will continue to serve as Director Emeritus. 

The 1982-83 fiscal year was characterized by improvements 
in service, materials, and staffing attributed to increases in bud- 
get. Retrenchments mandated by Proposition IVi ended, and 
restoration in hours of service, personnel, and purchasing funds 
were warmly greeted by all of the branches and the central li- 
brary. Despite cutbacks which pruned services and reduced 
book purchasing, however, the institution continued to grow 
and realize its goals. In some cases, increases were reported 
both in numbers of requests received and in items supplied. 

Ongoing, unobtrusive, yet substantial tasks in collection 
building, reference service, and delivery of materials to patrons 
were carried out by library aides, shelvers, and reference librar- 
ians who accommodated some one million visitors and scores 
of distant inquirers. A regular menu of exhibits, programs, 
publications and special services, including computer literature 
searching, print and fine arts reference, invention and patent 
searching, met research needs both locally and afar. 

Automation system adaptations for distribution of materials 
throughout the state and improved collection maintenance re- 
sulting from the new conservation laboratory program en- 
hanced the Library's service capability and bibliographic 
control. 

Public Service — Branch Libraries 

Beginning in October, nine branch libraries — Adams Street, 
Charlestown, East Boston, Fields Corner, Hyde Park, Jamaica 
Plain, Roslindale, South Boston, and West Roxbury — re- 
sumed Saturday hours from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. as other branches 
in the system added weekly hours of service. Doors reopened 
at Egleston Square branch following an act of vandalism, and 
extensive renovations were completed at Orient Heights and 



2 City Document No. 15 

Washington Village branches which sustained earlier fire dam- 
age. All work was done by Boston Public Library staff. 

Awareness of the growing number of Vietnamese and Cam- 
bodian families that now augment the Chinese in Boston's Asian 
population sparked branch efforts to reach out to the new 
group. Members of the community were encouraged to visit the 
Library and use newly acquired language materials. 

Annual events included presentation of the 35th Mary U. Ni- 
chols Book Prize at the North End branch. Joan Marie Freni, 
who received one of the first awards given in 1949, was the 
featured speaker. For the 4th annual Marjorie M. Gibbons 
Lecture, honoring the former branch librarian, Robert B. Sev- 
ery of the Dorchester Historical Society discussed "South Bos- 
ton in Days Gone By." The Mildred Kaufman Memorial Book 
Presentation, co-sponsored by the Massachusetts Federation of 
Polish Women's Clubs at the Roslindale Branch, introduced 
Ms. Stella Krupka to talk on Polish life and culture following 
the presentation. 

National Endowment for the Humanities Learning Library 
courses which had been highly successful when introduced at 
the Central Library were extended for the first time to district 
branches. In the fall, six lectures on "American Writers" were 
delivered at Brighton Branch by Professor John McAleer of 
Boston College; Douglass Shand Tucci, architectural historian, 
described "The Architecture of Dorchester" at Codman Square; 
while Joyce Mobley Corrigan, lecturer on literature and drama, 
presented "Art and Commitment: the Black Writer from Rich- 
ard Wright to Alice Walker" at Dudley. 

In the spring the series continued with Aileen Callahan, lec- 
turer in art, Boston College, speaking on "Impressionism: a 
Look at Light"; Samuel French Morse, poet and professor of 
English, Northeastern University, on "Different Voices: 20th 
Century New England Poets"; and Cynthia Zaitzevsky, consul- 
tant in architectural history, on "From Pasture to Park: the 
Open Spaces of Greater Boston." Substantial audiences from 
both neighboring communities and areas outside of Boston at- 
tended the programs. 

The advent of cable TV in Boston was marked by participa- 



Boston Public Library 3 

tion on local task forces of two branch librarians who explored 
the possibility of use of the new medium for library program- 
ming. 

Extension Services delivered books to nursing homes and 
housing for the elderly throughout the city, while the Homes- 
mobile gave personal service to shut-ins. 

Branch librarians provided films for pre-schoolers, story 
hours, book talks, and instruction in library use for Boston's 
school children, and welcomed class visits, new user registra- 
tion and browsing. Special programs for holidays and school 
vacations attracted youth of each community. Adult book dis- 
cussion groups, Never Too Late programs, and parent discus- 
sions rounded out activities for the year. 

Among programs of special interest, a Dudley Branch one- 
woman show of dramatic poetry, songs, and comedy, featuring 
excerpts from the poetry of Langston Hughes, was presented 
by Valerie Foxx with narration by Bernice Link. Paintings by 
Jamaican artist Gilda Sharpe and prints by South End resident 
Allan Crite were displayed for Black History Month; films on 
Paul Robeson, sculptor Richard Hunt, and singers Aretha 
Franklin and Mahalia Jackson were screened; stories from 
Third World countries were told by Li Min Mo; slides on Lib- 
eria, West Africa, African wear, and artifacts were shown by 
Daniel Watkins; and a program of local Black authors reading 
from their works drew audiences from the community and be- 
yond. An exhibition of works by Joan Delia Semedo of Cam- 
bridge depicted the land and people of Haiti and themes of 
Haitian folklore and mythology at the branch during May and 
June. 

In Brighton an illustrated talk by William Marchione of the 
Brighton Historical Association considered the life and art of 
one-time area resident Washington Allston for whom the All- 
ston section of Boston is named. 

At Parker Hill, Women's Week in March was celebrated with 
readings from Elena Dodd's new production A Play for Phyl- 
lis; Diane Woods of Women, Inc. discussed Women and Al- 
coholism; Maxine Major, who grew up in Mission Hill, shared 
her experience as a black woman working in management with 



4 City Document No. 15 

the Boston Housing Authority. A panel discussion on the ex- 
perience of single mothering and the relationship between par- 
ents and the public schools supplemented stories and films on 
the theme. 

Showing of the film "8 Minutes to Midnight, A Portrait of 
Dr. Helen Caldicott" at the RosHndale Branch was followed by 
a program offering comments by Kathleen Rowlings of the 
Nurses Alliance for the Prevention of Nuclear War. 

At the South End Branch Marita Golden, journalist and au- 
thor of Migrations of the Heart, a Personal Odyssey, shared 
reflections on her experiences and thoughts on Africa. 

Public Service — General Library 

Just as branch libraries support each of Boston's neighborhood 
communities, the General Library offers ongoing services tai- 
lored to the recreation and information needs of adults, young 
adults, and children citywide. To strengthen these services, staff 
reshelved expanding General Library materials in foreign lan- 
guages and the entire large print collection, updated and refur- 
bished circulating picture files, and weeded the paperback and 
reference collection. While the periodical browsing area was 
closed off and service was supplied on request only, the change 
brought a significant improvement in the Library's ability to 
serve the expressed needs of its periodical users, and a new 
computer terminal installed at the Catalog Desk on the first 
floor gave the pubhc ready access to the Library's up-to-the- 
minute holdings files. Adult Readers and Information staff 
mounted attractive bookshelf displays to acquaint the public 
with the richness of the collection. Senior aduUs enjoyed film 
presentations and Never Too Late group meetings while other 
adults took advantage of numerous events listed in the library 
calendar. 

Annotated bibliographies of the year's outstanding titles were 
produced for all age groups, along with lists on specific sub- 
jects. 

Awareness of reading trends and intensive knowledge of the 
library's holdings help Children and Young Adult staff to ac- 
quire the best titles in adult, juvenile, and educational publish- 



Boston Public Library 5 

ing. The collection, which balances homework support and 
fiction by favorite authors, is used by teachers, youth workers, 
librarians, and other professionals who turn to staff as consul- 
tants on a variety of outside projects. Tours for classes, foreign 
visitors, and students of English as a second language were 
given throughout the year. These focused on the Library's his- 
tory and architecture and use of specialized indexes and ab- 
stracts. Staff also encouraged "regulars" through individual 
attention, knowledge of reading requirements, willingness to 
answer all questions, and a welcome to children and young 
adults to make the library their "special place." With the Bos- 
ton School Committee, staff developed recommended reading 
lists as part of the new set of curriculum objectives in high 
school English. 

Programs for the young, particularly during school vacations 
and the summer, brought cooperation from First Night, the 
Boston Theater for the Deaf, the Society of Children's Book 
Writers, and the Boston College Children's Theater. Pre- 
schoolers enjoyed film showings and story hours and Shirley 
Glubok, Tomie de Paola, Norma and Harry Mazer were fea- 
tured speakers for special programs. Young Adults were the 
target for a retrospective series of science fiction films, author 
Richard Peck shared reflections on becoming a writer, and the 
"Personal Computers Japanese Style" program involved young 
adults in the Library-wide "Salute to Kyoto." The scope of these 
events is suggested by a staff count of 200 class visits, 63 pre- 
school programs, and 33 films with an overall attendance of 
over 12,000 for the year. 

In Audio-Visual, audio cassette circulation increased and at- 
tractive new subject guides to the film collection were distrib- 
uted to local groups to enhance the use of films. 

Reference and Research Services 

For the Research Library, the year 1982-83 brought significant 
accomplishments in the areas of its highly praised public ser- 
vice, in new projects to develop and describe collections, in 
support of library programs and exhibits, and in routine house- 
keeping tasks. 



6 City Document No. 15 

With a grant from the Massachusetts Council on the Arts 
and Humanities, the Library launched a project to prevent fur- 
ther deterioration and return one of its unique resources to ac- 
tive exhibit and research use. Fifty-five leatherbound volumes 
of the architectural drawings of the firm of William Preston, 
given to the library in 1961, were disbound and treated by a 
special team of volunteers and members of the Fine Arts and 
conservation center staff. 

In the third year of its Inventor Information Resource Cen- 
ter, Science Reference staff used a no-cost extension grant to 
continue to provide free computer search service to inventors. 
One hundred and thirty-three on-line computer searches using 
a wide variety of data bases required 447 sessions, or 3.36 ses- 
sions per search, and resulted in orders for hundreds of pho- 
tocopies for successful searchers. With improved access to the 
patent collection on microfilm, some 175 users per month 
searched patent records with ease. More than 6000 patents were 
read and over 50,000 pages were reproduced for the public 
within a 24-hour turnaround time. Staff shared word of the 
service at the annual Inventors Weekend and noted that, as 
awareness of the department's capability grew, inquiries in- 
creased throughout the year. A list of contact personnel for 
local groups who deal with specific medical problems was also 
compiled. 

Citations to articles and books about Boston were added to 
the growing Bibliography of Boston which awaits funding for 
publication. Social Science staff relocated the bulk of the li- 
brary's collection of maps, and department head William Lewis 
helped the Black History Month Committee of Greater Boston 
to bring James Horton, Professor of History and American 
Studies, George Washington University, and Director, Afro- 
American Communities Project, National Museum of Ameri- 
can History, Smithsonian Institution, to speak on the occasion 
for which staff prepared related exhibits. Additions to Social 
Science reference resources for the year include a Who's Who 
in the People's Republic of China, a Directory of Afro-Ameri- 
can Resources, genealogical indexes, and other works relating 
to black history. 



Boston Public Library 7 

In addition to delivering thousands of microforms upon re- 
quest, Microtext staff provided advanced reference service, pro- 
duced thousands of photocopies, and served as consukants on 
questions of microform service and equipment. 60,330 micro- 
forms were dehvered to the pubhc, including 18,508 to Boston 
residents, 35,467 to other Massachusetts citizens, and 5,267 out 
of state visitors. 5,128 orders requested 32,396 individual page 
photocopies, while staff answered 161 Interlibrary Loan (ILL) 
requests, 434 reference letters, and 2,798 telephone calls. Ac- 
quisition of 3,426 reels of microfilm, 296 boxes of microprint 
cards, 128,633 microfiche, and 2,659 aperture cards were added 
to the collection, and staff did an outstanding job in identifying 
and labelling some 800 reels of microfilm containing the 1900 
Census of the New England States. 

Major microtext acquisitions were received in Black culture 
and civil rights, the arts, American colonial history and the 
Revolution, U.S. military history, American social history, lit- 
erature, cinema, and the theater, personal papers, genealogy, 
maritime history, newspapers, and government documents. Mi- 
crofilm editions are important for their capacity to both pre- 
serve original and unique collections and provide their use in 
multiple library locations. 

Government Documents staff counted and processed a signif- 
icant accumulation of foreign document materials, reprinted the 
eye-catching where-to-look Guide to Government Publications 
in the Boston Public Library, and readied a new guide to the 
law collection. Preliminary work on the finding list to num- 
bered Boston City documents, 1910-1965, was completed; the 
Government Publications in Microform list was revised; and a 
finding aid for the 17-volume set of American State Trials 
neared publication. The department also established a comput- 
erization format for document materials. Important acquisi- 
tions include Federal Career Opportunities, a biweekly listing 
of job openings in the federal government, and the Legal Re- 
sources Index, a microfilm index to 700 legal periodicals, news- 
papers, congressional hearings, and reports on related topics. 

Several departments reviewed and updated their respective 
reference collections and contributed to an important biblio- 



8 City Document No. 15 

graphic tool being prepared by the Boston Library Consortium. 
Entries made in the Microtext Access Literature Project de- 
scribe major microfilm collections unique to each library for 
the benefit of other members. 

Humanities Reference compiled a six-year calendar of holi- 
days and holy days which was widely distributed in the region. 

In addition, staff prepared several exhibits, responded to 
23,354 telephone requests, 6,113 in-person queries, and 151 in- 
terlibrary loan requests, as well as a total of 133 letters. 

Additions to the Rare Book department included major ac- 
quisitions of Portuguese and Spanish materials, works by Vol- 
taire, Swift and St. Thomas Aquinas, and an important Spanish 
medieval manuscript from Granada dated 1517. This work, a 
Carta ejecutoria in favor of Rodrigo de Oviedo of Almagro, 
given by the Queen of Spain and her son, contains portraits of 
the two royal family members and is exquisitely illuminated. ^ 

The department cooperated with conservation center staff to 
prepare a guide to the microfilm edition of the Nathaniel Bow- 
ditch Papers, organized the American Revolutionary War Pa- 
pers for filming, and organized and indexed the Weston Sisters 
Papers. In addition, Rare Book staff indexed the 13,000+ let- 
ters and other items in the Wilfrid Beaulieu Papers, the first 
20th century collection to be archivally arranged. The collec- 
tion was received by the Library in 1980. 

New materials were accessioned, exhibitions mounted, visi- 
tors welcomed and given introductory talks, conservation sem- 
inars held for Boston Library Consortium members and 
materials prepared for loan for special exhibits, with the result 
that numerous quotations from Boston Public Library sources 
appear in newly published works. 

Activities of the Newspaper Department included daily re- 
ceipt and racking of 170 domestic and 75 foreign papers for 
public use and the ongoing task of preparing papers for bind- 
ing, wrapping, or microfilming. 

Statistics reflect increased use of Interlibrary Loan service for 
the year and the library remained heavily a net loaner. Requests 
from branch library patrons and central library users increased. 
Computer communication with the Center for Research Librar- 



Boston Public Library 9 

ies in Chicago facilitated service, along with corrected serials 
records of holdings at the Kirstein Business Branch. Staff met 
with members of consortium and regional libraries to discuss 
implications of the new on-line holdings file for interlibrary loan 
service. A new searching techniques manual was produced and 
will be distributed to other libraries. 

Fine Arts staff supplied 9%^o of all requests, relying on pre- 
cise maintenance in stack areas and improvements in shelf list 
and catalog. Collection development through preparation of 
fine arts subject profiles and a study of the collection develop- 
ment policies of comparable institutions was carried out. Mi- 
croform sets and important art reference works were purchased 
while such gifts as those of Albert Meckel, Morton Vose, local 
authors and institutions brought to the Library monographs on 
prints and print making, museum collection catalogs, art pub- 
lications, architectural drawings, and more. Eugen Dselkaley's 
gift of prints and photographs opened a new resource in the 
form of a pictorial archive containing more than 20,000 prints, 
engravings, and etchings, in the first of several gift install- 
ments. 

Conservation Laboratory 

In the second year of support from the U.S. Department of 
Education, the Library's newly established laboratory for con- 
servation of books and papers made significant advances. With 
the laboratory equipped and fully supplied, staff moved for- 
ward. Among the first works to undergo processes of restora- 
tion were thirty volumes of Diderot's Encyclopedia which 
mandated a painstaking process of repair, rebinding, matching 
dyes, saving/treating/reattaching bindings. Other works con- 
served during the year included a sixteenth-century work by 
Carolus Sigonius, eighteenth-century works by Defoe and Ben- 
jamin Rush, books in the Adams and Bowditch Collections, 
and manuscripts and papers of the American Revolution. 

Bibliographic Control/Automated Cataloging 

Beneficial effects of automated systems continue to be felt with 



10 City Document No. 15 

computerization of the process by which a book is brought to 
shelf. Ordering, receiving, cataloging, and record keeping have 
been streamlined to allow departments to keep pace more easily 
with the influx of new library materials. 

Thanks to Automated Cataloging support, the Library was 
able to handle some 130,000 volumes during the year, supply- 
ing cataloging records for 30,000 new Boston Public Library 
titles and more than 800,000 cataloging products representing 
200,000 other titles received in the network of cooperating 
Massachusetts libraries who depend on the Boston Public Li- 
brary. 

Orders for monographic works are now placed more rapidly 
through the system which off'ers capability for automatic fol- 
low-ups, fund encumbering, disencumbering, accounting, and 
management without significant additions in expense of time or 
personnel. Further eff"orts were made to expand the system to 
permit clearance of accounts and to develop more responsible 
ties with vendors. 

Newly installed terminals allowed in-house reference depart- 
ment staff to query "recently received" and "on order" files for 
up-to-the-minute information on titles requested by library pa- 
trons. Thirty new terminals connecting the Boston Public Li- 
brary host computer with Eastern Regional Libraries and seven 
new microcomputers in subregional libraries provided immedi- 
ate checking of Boston holdings and created a further step to- 
ward public access on-line terminals. 

Membership in the F. W. Faxon LYNX system for auto- 
mated serials check-in and fund accounting brought improved 
service and stronger control of ordering, monitoring, and 
claiming functions. Meanwhile, minicomputer applications and 
alterations made in in-place systems provided newly expeditious 
and efficient handling of circulation system data. 

COM catalogs for the Research Library, General Library, 
and branches were produced quarterly, and the on-Hne catalog 
of titles received since 1975 was updated monthly. 

The effects of these system-wide improvements in acquisi- 
tions and other record keeping operations benefit all depart- 
ments. 



Boston Public Library 11 

Staff 

Staff members who have served the Hbrary for 25 years or more 
were honored at an award ceremony in June. Winifred Frank 
(1981), Joseph Harper, Corrine Henderson, Edward Montana, 
Jr., and Randall Tobin (1982), and James Ford (1983) each 
received the library chair. 

Staff members participated in a wide range of activities and 
made numerous individual contributions to outside projects. 
Raymond Agler, Humanities Coordinator, served on the advi- 
sory board for the WGBH series The Spider's Web and the 
Consortium Readers Services Committee. His review of Art on 
Nantucket, published by the Nantucket Historical Trust, ap- 
peared in a recent issue of Antiques Magazine. 

Suzanne Gray, Coordinator of Science, served as a reviewer 
for A A AS Science and Films and American Reference Books 
Annual and was a member of the Oberly Awards Committee, 
Science and Technololgy section of the American College and 
Research Libraries. 

Government Documents staff attended professional meet- 
ings, the A J Seminar on Legal Research for Non-Law Librar- 
ians, the NELINET Center for Mass Data, United Community 
Planning Corporation workshop on the use of census data, and 
Special Libraries Association meetings as well as State House 
hearings on the creation of a state document depository and 
consultations at the State Library on the need for a state plan 
for federal deposits. 

Laura Monti, Keeper of Rare Books, welcomed delegations 
from China, Catalonia and Barcelonia, planned the Franco- 
American Press symposium, discussed disposition of collec- 
tions with collectors and donors, and lectured at several meet- 
ings. 

William Lewis, Coordinator of Social Sciences, coordinated 
the Black History month program with the Greater Boston 
Black History Month Committee. 

Rose Moorachian succeeded Rosalie Lang in April as Super- 
visor of Branches, and Worth Douglas became Assistant Su- 
pervisor of Branches for the Brighton District. 



12 City Document No. 15 

Young Adult staff reviewed for School Library Journal and 
Horn Book magazine, lectured at children's literature classes of 
Simmons College, and consulted on the compilation of new 
bibliographies for publication. 

Fine Arts staff member Jan Chadbourne wrote an article on 
the Preston drawings project, and Jane Block another on art- 
ists' ephemera. In March, Jane Block was notified of her selec- 
tion as a Fulbright scholar on the basis of recent work on 
Belgian avant garde artists. Staff also participated in meetings 
of the Art Libraries Society of North America. 

Boston Library Consortium 

Members of the Boston Library Consortium enjoyed resource 
sharing activities, exchanged professional communications with 
the help of committees, and benefited from staff development 
programs in collection department and preservation. The Li- 
brary continued to work cooperatively with other members us- 
ing an LSCA grant to convert union list records to a new system 
that will offer better access to current holdings of member li- 
braries. Serials records were also examined to make recommen- 
dations for cancellation of duplicates, conserving resources to 
allow purchase of other needed works and thus to broaden re- 
sources available to Boston area library users. 

Eastern Massachusetts Regional Library System 

The Eastern Regional services in FY82/83 proceeded with sev- 
eral services according to the needs of member libraries. In this 
year's report, the Regional Administrator demonstrated the 
growth and value of several quantifiable services with views of 
comparable use and costs. Growth was noted in such areas as 
interlibrary loan, bookmobile/deposit center circulation, de- 
posits of large print and foreign language books, circulation of 
16mm films, and attendance at film programs. As an example 
of growth in services, more than 1.6 million individuals of all 
ages viewed films from the Audio-Visual Center, Boston Public 
Library, and the Bookmobile/Deposit Centers, up 130,000 from 
FYS 1/82. Foreign language deposits from the Headquarters Li- 
brary were actively borrowed by numerous member Hbraries, 



Boston Public Library 13 

numbering among the languages: Arabic, Armenian, Swahili, 
Vietnamese. Other regional activities included workshops on 
automation and children's services, and publications such as the 
ER NEWS; RECAP, a summary of executive board and com- 
mittee activities; WHAT WE CAN DO FOR YOU, a guide to 
regional services for directors and trustees; Boston Subregional 
Union List of Periodicals and Newspapers; and related publi- 
cations in support of the regional program. 

Contributors 

The Library is grateful to the wide array of donors who en- 
riched general resources and special collections by more than 
25,000 films, prints, recordings, serials, musical scores, family 
genealogies, and other volumes. Texas donor Edward R. 
Greenwood presented handsome additions to the collection in 
the form of a two-volume history of the University of Oxford, 
published by the English firm of Ackermann, and a limited edi- 
tion of Sir Skelton's Charles I, containing a letter from the 
King. Nearly 2,000 recordings from Radio Canada Interna- 
tional established the first collection of the company's output 
in the U.S., while some 16,000 records, including numerous 78 
rpm albums, were received as a gift from the New England 
Conservatory. Gifts ranged from Eugen Dskelkaley's 19th cen- 
tury print materials to Judith Gwyn Brown's illustrations for 
well-known children's books and the presentation of Jacob 
Binder's oil painting The Scribe. The addition of both rare and 
familiar materials to library collections provided substantial re- 
search support and information for the general reader. 

In another area, Associates of the Boston Public Library 
raised a significant sum in support of library book collections 
at their December/April courtyard book sale. 

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. 

Liam M. Kelly 
Acting Director 



14 City Document No. 15 

Table 1. Circulation 
BOOK CIRCULATION 

Fiscal Fiscal Fiscal 

1981 1982 1983 

Central Library 570,381* 418,574* 459,646** 

Extension Services 

Bookmobile 12,128*** - - 

Homesmobile 39,326 40,834 38,162 

Deposits 66,543 99,090 116,100 

Adams Street 51,598 45,262 43,781 

Allston 18,731**** 

Brighton 64,335 72,669 78,495 

Charlestown 42,010 46,231 49,339 

Codman Square 37,266 32,751 35,383 

Connolly 28,385 23,796 28,974 

Dudley 25,432 30,252 29,402 

East Boston 33,009 39,474 60,230 

Egleston Square 20,524 11,892 5,023 

Faneuil 22,729 14,855 13,640 

Fields Corner 68,648 48,692 49,098 

Grove Hall 25,664 22,727 27,559 

Hyde Park 75,287 75,071 73,020 

Jamaica Plain 36,221 32,247 36,323 

Lower Mills 22,853 24,912 37,206 

Mattapan 13,730 11,075 15,031 

North End 24,074 23,828 24,837 

Orient Heights 35,044 20,428t 2,791$ 

Parker Hill 18,192 19,616 20,843 

Roslindale 62,980 60,772 63,987 

South Boston 59,605 67,756 65,042 

South End 17,676 16,144 14,286 

Uphams Corner 19,838 19,333 19,703 

Washington Village — — — 

West End 44,965 41,172 43,800 

West Roxbury 101,563 94,961 93,047 

Hospital Library Service 6,001*** — — 

Multilingual Library 5,680*** — — 

Total Branches 1,033,494 1,035,840 1,087,611 

Total Entire Library 1,670,418 1,454,414 1,547,257 

* No Sunday service; Saturday service suspended 

** Monday morning and Saturday service resumed 

10/16/82 
*** Closed December 1, 1980 

**** Closed June 25, 1981 
t Closed on account of fire 3/8/82 

% Reopened May 1983 



Boston Public Library 



NON-BOOK CIRCULATION 



75 



Fiscal 
1981 



Fiscal 
1982 



Fiscal 
1983 



Films 43,301 37,024 

Recordings and Audio 

Cassettes 47,797 37,815 

Total 91,098 74,839 

*Included in Table 1. Circulation 



INTERLIBRARY LOAN 

Books 14,273 11,261 15,775 

PHOTOREPRODUCTION 

Photocopies (Interlibrary 

Loan) 18,300 18,260 15,400 

Microfilm photocopies 459,683 410,730 

Public photocopies 1,325,977 850,450 

Total 1,803,960 1,279,440 15,400 

**Data not available 






Table 2. Growth of the Library 
BOOKS 

General Library 

Volumes added 57,223 48,600 77,290 

Volumes withdrawn 68,359 67,489 18,494 

Total on Hand 2,148,366 2,129,477 2,188,273 

Research Library 

Volumes added 60,281 57,010 38,700 

Volumes withdrawn — 39 945 

Total on Hand 2,729,829 2,786,800 2,824,555 

Total Book Stock 4,878,195 4,916,277 5,012,828 



BOOK AND NON-BOOK HOLDINGS 



Fiscal 
1981 



Fiscal 
1982 



Fiscal 
1983 



PRINT MATERIALS 

Volumes 4,878,195 4,916,277 5,012,828 

Serial subscriptions 10,172 10,172 13,534 



16 



City Document No. 15 



Special Collections: 

Rare Books X 252,234 252,791 

Rare manuscripts 

letters, etc \ 764,100 765,942 

Letters, books, etc., 

on Prints \ 2,700 2,725 

Patents: USA 4,276,557 4,337,336 4,337,336** 

Patents: Foreign 2,198,556 2,219,475 2,219,475** 

Sheet Maps 306,900 310,200 310,200! 

Government Documents... 2,088,892 2,151,657 2,234,867 

NON-PRINT MATERIALS 

Cassettes 25,708 26,213 26,817 

Audio-Recordings 235,461 237,878 242,989 

Films, 16mm 10,295 10,410 10,595 

Filmstrips 6211 621t 621t 

Slide Sets (including lantern 

slides) 7,077t 7,077t 7,077t 

Projected Books 178t 178t 178t 

Videotapes 529 529 566 

Video Cassettes 161t 161t 161t 

Reel-to-Reel Tapes l,902t l,902t l,902t 

Art Prints 162,9151 162,915t 162,915t 

Photographs 537,447t 537,4471 537,4471 

Glass Negatives 40,603t 40,603t 40,603t 

Picture Collection 199,371t 199,3711 199,371t 

Postcards 148,999t 148,999t 148,999t 

MICROFORMS 

Microcards 11,851 11,861 ll,861t 

Microfiche (sheets) 706,938 801,352 929,985 

Microfilm (reels) 104,250 106,121 109,545 

Microfilm (patents) - - 8,500 

Microfilm (master negatives) 6,295t 6,295t 6,295t 

Microprints (boxes) 5,560 5,763 6,039 

Microprints (sheets) 1,251,000 1,301,750 1,370,750 

Aperture cards 43,965 48,457 51,116 

* Corrected total. 

** See also Microfilm statistics. 

t Inventory not updated. 

X Inventory not yet completed. 



Boston Public Library 



17 



Table 3. Cataloging Statistics 

Fiscal Fiscal Fiscal 

1981 1982 1983 

Volumes processed 133,424 105,610 130,680 

New Titles cataloged 46,559 37,598 40,830 

Original cataloging 6,714 5,810 7,103 

NUC cataloging 3,981 1,063 938 

LC cataloging 34,839 28,455 29,949 

Rare Book cataloging 437 270 235 

Films ; 535 115 185 

Recordings 259 278 201 

Cassettes 188 458 498 

Sound Archives 4,387 4,525 8,378 

Table 4. Binding 

Volumes Bound 38,493 34,315* 43,550 

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



18 



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Report of 

THE EXAMINING COMMITTEE 

1 April 1983 - 31 March 1984 



20 



Report of the Examining Committee 



Members of the Examining Committee 

Bettina A. Norton, Vice-Chairman and Convener 



Frederick S. Allis, Jr. 
Rodney Armstrong 
Daniel J. Coolidge 
Ralph J. Crandall 
Edwin L. Francis 
Milton Glass 
Renee Glass 
Alice Hennessey 



Frances Howe 
Douglas E. Kenney 
Sharon Kobritz 
WilHam H. Pear 
Aurora Salvucci 
Francis W. Sidlauskas 
Brunetta R. Wolfman 



Boston Public Library 21 

Summary of Recommendations 
The Examining Committee of the Boston PubHc Library 
would Hke to see continued the momentum that began in the 
final months of 1983, because of increases in city funds and new 
policies initiated at the library. The Committee also makes the 
following major recommendations: 

• that the Boston Public Library's share of total city depart- 
mental expenditures annually be 3.5% or higher. 

• that state aid to the Boston Public Library through the pro- 
vision for "Library of Last Recourse" eventually be raised to 
75<C per capita, in line with user statistics. 

• that private fundraising be supplementary to this public 
funding and be targeted to special projects and collections. 

• that the Public Relations Department be strengthened and 
enlarged, and a new position of Director of Volunteers be 
created. 

• that the positions of Branch Librarians and Supervisor of 
Branches be upgraded, that each branch have a Children's 
Librarian, and that each branch be given a yearly allocation 
for minor repairs and maintenance. 

• that the Research Library be given more visibility by having 
the Print and Rare Book departments open on Saturdays, 
and by developing programs in cooperation with the Boston 
Public Schools. 

• that the Board of Trustees be augmented by two members, 
to be appointed by the incumbent governor to staggered five- 
year terms of office. 

• that the incumbent mayor respect the terms of office of the 
Trustees and make appointments in the best interests of the 
entire library system. 



22 



Report of the Examining Committee 




Boston Public Library 



23 



BOSTON PUBLIC LIBRARY SYSTEM 



A Copley Square ("General Library") 

Back Bay, St. Botolph Street 
Kenmore Square/ Bay State Road 
West & East Fenway 
Bay Village, Chinatown 
Theatre District 
Downtown 

Other Branch Facilities 



B. BRIGHTON REGION: 



Brighton/Faneuil 

East Boston/Orient Hts. 

West End/North End 

Charlestown 

South Boston/Wash. Vill. 



C. CODMAN REGION: 



Codman Sq./Upham's Cor. 

Fields Corner 

Lower Mills 

Adams 

Hyde Park 

Roslindale 

West Roxbury 



D. DUDLEY REGION: 



Dudley /Egleston Sq. 

Grove Hall/Mattapan 

South End 

Parker Hill 

Jamaica Plain/Connolly 



Research Library: 



Social Science 

Business Reference/ Kirstein "Branch" 

Science 

Fine Arts 

Music 

Humanities 

Government Documents/Kirstein 

Charlestown Service Building "Armory" 

"Homemobiles" 



Boston Public Library 25 

INTRODUCTION 

CBC ORDINANCE 11, Section 350, states that the Trustees of 
the Boston Public Library "shall annually appoint an Examin- 
ing Committee of not less than five persons, not members of 
the Board, who, with one of the Board as Chairman, shall ex- 
amine the Library and make to the Board a report of its con- 
ditions." Section 351 states that the report of the Examining 
Committee shall be included in the annual report of the Li- 
brary. The Committee appointed in the spring of 1983 by the 
President of the Board of Trustees and the Director of the Li- 
brary consisted of sixteen persons, all but two of whom were 
on the previous committee. The newly-appointed Vice-Chair- 
man, at the invitation of the President of the Trustees, chose 
an additional seven persons, and seven of the original named 
resigned during the year because they were unable to partici- 
pate at the level that it soon became apparent would be neces- 
sary in this special year. The final committee consisted of sixteen 
members who represent many in the city interested in Library 
services. 

Most of the members of the Committee came to their ap- 
pointed position with particular parochial interests in the Li- 
brary — as consumers of its public programs, users of its 
circulating collections in the central facility and/or its branches, 
or users of the special research collections; and members in- 
clude representatives of two citizen groups founded in 1981 to 
focus attention on the problems of the Library in the wake of 
Proposition 2 Vi . 

Within a few days of the appointment of this committee, it 
was announced that Phihp J. McNiflF was about to retire after 
eighteen years' service as Director of the Library. When it was 
also made known that Kevin H. White was to step down after 
sixteen years as Mayor of Boston, the committee saw that its 
responsibilities had more than the usual implications. The 
broadly worded mandate under which the Committee was 
formed is capable of varying interpretations, and this Commit- 
tee elected to take the broadest possible interpretation. 

It was apparent that the interests of the Library would best 
be served by members becoming familiar with as many func- 



26 Report of the Examining Committee 

tions and facilities of the Library as possible. First order of 
business was a report on the recommendations of the Examin- 
ing Committee of 1981. The subcommittee charged with this 
function reported at the May 1983 meeting that there had been 
no substantive addressing by the Trustees of the issues and rec- 
ommendations in that earlier report. Therefore, this report, ar- 
rived at after completely independent study, has a number of 
the same conclusions as its predecessor. In addition, the efforts 
of this year's Committee may seem to have produced duplica- 
tion of effort because of the work of the Transition Team on 
the Library, part of the Task Force on Community and Social 
Services, appointed by the Mayor-Elect, Raymond L. Flynn. 
This has proved to have been in the best interests of the Li- 
brary, however; the Examining Committee, already at work for 
six months when the Transition Team was appointed, was able 
to provide it with documents and insights that eased its task. 
This Examining Committee's report agrees with some of the 
positions of the Transition Team and disagrees with others, and 
so provides the Trustees and the next Director with healthy dif- 
ferences of opinion. 

The Boston Public Library has come through a very difficult 
period with great financial strain that began even before the 
impact of Proposition IVi.* Staffing and book acquisitions in 
the ensuing years were greatly reduced; services, therefore, suf- 
fered. In spite of this, the Library was successful in obtaining 
federal funds for such fine programs as the NEH-funded grant 
in 1982, which included a lecture series on American writers at 
the Brighton branch, on architecture of Dorchester at the Cod- 
man Square branch, and on Black American writers at the 
Dudley branch. This was the first time that the Boston Public 
Library extended its highly successful NEH Learning Library 
Program into the branch libraries. Indeed, this and other pro- 
grams initiated and encouraged under the directorship of Philip 

* For two years, 1977 and 1978, the city appropriation to the Boston Public 
Library went down, resulting in a drop of the Library's expenditures from 
3.62% of the total city departmental expenditures in 1976 to 3.06% in 1978. 
In 1979, the slow climb back up began, but was reversed in 1981 under the 
threats of the Tregor Bill and Proposition IVi. In 1982, the Library's share 
of total city departmental expenditures had fallen to 2.4%. 



Boston Public Library 27 

J. McNiff are a fine example of the best uses of the assets of 
the Boston PubHc Library. When the Committee began its 
work, nonetheless, morale among the staff had been very low 
for the previous several years. 

Restoration of the level of city funding to just over S-S^/o of 
the city budget at the end of 1983, increase in state aid under 
the provision for "Library of Last Recourse" from $250,000 in 
1981 to over $2,000,000 in 1984, and successful passage through 
the efforts of the former Trustees of the $15,000,000 loan order 
by the City Council, have meant that the Library has been able 
to begin to bring the number of staff up to pre- 1978 levels, 
reopen the Central Library on Saturdays and Sundays, and un- 
dertake renovation plans for the McKim building and Charles- 
town depository and repairs to branch facilities. Also, to the 
delight of many, the doors of the McKim building are once 
again open onto Copley Square. 

As many persons on the Examining Committee had accu- 
mulated experience in this and other libraries as users, staff, 
administrators, and Trustees, they felt strongly that they should 
submit a list of criteria for the Trustees to consider in their 
search for the new Director. The Committee's interim report of 
1 November 1983 stated: 

— that the new Director be a professional librarian 
with at least ten years' administrative experience in 
a Ubrary; 

— that the new Director have a demonstrated ability 
to develop good public relations and good staff re- 
lations; 

— that the new Director be familiar with and be able 
to work with the state, regional, and city library 
systems; 

— that the new Director support without qualifica- 
tion the statement of the American Library Asso- 
ciation concerning intellectual freedom and the 
"right to read." 

The Committee met monthly, during which time it visited a 
number of branch libraries and discussed Library problems. 



28 Report of the Examining Committee 

Four subcommittees were set up to address what consensus de- 
termined were the main concerns: branch facilities, public re- 
lations, state aid and other funding, and the central facility 
(subdivided into two groups, for the McKim building and the 
Research Library, and for the General Library); full reports 
based on observations and interviews with staff, users, and other 
interested citizens will be found at the end of the report. The 
next section contains the General Recommendations, all of 
which were accepted by the Committee at its final meeting for 
this fiscal year on 27 March 1984. 

General Recommendations 

The recommendations are in two sections; first are those that 
resulted from study by the Committee as a whole on major 
facets of the Library: the Examining Committee, the Trustees, 
and the staff. 

Examining Committee. It is recommended that the Library's 
annual reports include responses to the recommendations in the 
previous year's Examining Committee report, and what action 
was or was not taken. Establishment of a regular schedule of 
report by the Examining Committee and follow-up by the 
Trustees would be constructive, realistic, and therefore more 
meaningful. Second, the Committee recommends that a budget 
be allocated for the Examining Committee to cover secretarial, 
duplicating, and incidental costs relating to arranging meetings 
and producing minutes and final reports. The sum of $500 
would be appropriate at this time. Third, the Committee 
strongly recommends that the Examining Committee be com- 
pletely independent of both staff and Trustees for its delibera- 
tions and recommendations, as was this year's Committee, to 
allow it to function with integrity. 

Trustees. The Committee strongly recommends that the 
Mayor honor the provision of the state statute that declares 
that one Trustee is to be appointed every year for a term of 
five years, and not as in recent practice at the pleasure of the 
Mayor. Second, the Trustees should be a body able to give ad- 
equate time to the library, and each one should attend a ma- 
jority of the meetings or be asked to resign. In recognition of 



Boston Public Library 29 

the increasing aid to the Library from the state and of the con- 
cept of the Library as a state resource, the Committee suggests 
that there be two additional Trustees, to be appointed by the 
Governor in office, for staggered five-year terms. 

The Committee notes that the members of the Board of 
Trustees who served through the period of this report devel- 
oped an enormously enlarged understanding of the procedures 
and assets of the Library (as has this Committee) during the 
past year, and devoted a substantial amount of time and 
thought to the process of selecting a new Director. However, 
there is a danger implicit in what has seemed to be a criterion 
for appointment to the Board of Trustees in the past dozen 
years or so — namely, overidentification with the political 
process. Therefore, the Committee urges that the new Mayor 
make every effort to include among its members persons pri- 
marily interested in the Library as the foremost and most ac- 
cessible educational institution of the city. Such persons should 
have a demonstrated commitment and devotion to the Library 
as an independent cultural force in the community and as a 
quality intellectual institution responsive to neighborhood 
needs. Only with such representation on the Board can the Li- 
brary survive the damaging onslaughts of the past few years. 

Staff. It was clear to those on the Committee who inter- 
viewed the management staff that there is great loyalty to the 
Library. In numerous conversations, many senior staff mem- 
bers were quick to point out that problems within other de- 
partments in the Library were primarily those brought about 
by lack of funds, and not by lack of concern or effort of their 
colleagues. Such loyalty to the institution and to each other 
points out the validity of the national reputation of the man- 
agement staff as competent, dedicated, and able to work well 
together. 

Longevity of persons in management positions at the Boston 
Public Library is astounding. Of the total now of 37 persons, 
all but three have been employed at the Library for over ten 
years: seventeen have been employees from ten to twenty years, 
four from twenty to thirty, nine from thirty to forty, and four 
over forty years. These figures not only point to the stability of 



30 Report of the Examining Committee 

management positions and the loyalty of those who hold them, 
but also indicate a healthy pattern of upcoming available posi- 
tions. 

Nonetheless, each year during the past five years there has 
been difficulty in adding adequate personnel, especially at the 
lower levels. The General Library, the Branch Library system, 
and the Research Library all have suffered from the diminution 
of staff. Although there has been some improvement along these 
lines in recent months with the restitution of former funding 
levels, it is clear that the quality and quantity of library service 
available to the public still cannot be compared to what was 
taken for granted a decade ago. 

Part of this is due to the limitation imposed by the absolute 
residency requirement. The Committee strongly urges an 
amendment to that requirement, namely, that an available po- 
sition be posted in-house for a specified amount of time, after 
which it be advertised with the residency requirement for an 
additional specified amount of time, and then, if the position 
has not been filled at the end of that period, that the position 
be open to anyone qualified, regardless of residency. 

Salaries for support staff at the Boston Public Library are not 
comparable to salaries elsewhere in this community, which leads 
to a constant turnover of personnel. Vacancies in pre-profes- 
sional and library assistant positions force professional staff 
members to perform tasks which are inappropriate and a waste 
of the professional staff's talents and training, which then result 
in a waste of the public's money. Support staff is one of the 
major problems facing the library today. The Committee there- 
fore recommends that the salary schedule be in line with that of 
comparable institutions. 

As for staff recruitment, current management supports exist- 
ing measures to encourage minority placement in the pre-profes- 
sional programs. The number of minorities interested in 
positions in the professional level of libraries throughout the 
United States is low; the Committee suggests that the Boston 
Public Library institute a more aggressive program with univers- 
ities with library science programs to address this problem. 

Staff morale throughout the Library was greatly enhanced by 



Boston Public Library 31 

the recent budgetary increases. In addition, the enthusiastic re- 
sponse of staff to the visits of the Examining Committee points 
out that the Trustees should ensure such.visits by the Committee 
on an annual basis. 

At this time, the Acting Director is considering some changes 
in structure in the organization, and this Committee does not 
consider that its function is to presume to make recommenda- 
tions on the internal staif structure. One suggestion has surfaced 
often enough, however, for the Committee at least to offer it: 
namely, that perhaps it would be a viable solution to the oper- 
ations of the Branch system to upgrade the positions of branch 
librarians and the Supervisor of Branches; this will give branch 
librarians the opportunity to become part of management and 
have more direct contact with senior library personnel and par- 
ticipate in policy decisions. 



Following are the suggestions generated from each of the sub- 
committee reports, then discussed and approved by the Com- 
mittee as a whole. 

Public Relations 

The Committee very strongly recommends considerable 
strengthening of Public Relations to promote the Library within 
and without the Library system, and appointment of an addi- 
tional full-time person to develop and coordinate volunteer ef- 
forts which again should be aggressively promoted throughout 
the Library system. The Committee also recommends that there 
be a visitor reception center in the lobby of both the McKim 
and the Johnson Buildings. The front desk should have guides 
to all departments and collections and a full calendar of events 
at both the Central facility and in all branches. 

The Public Relations function must include both in-house and 
outside activities (with heavy emphasis on media relations and 
special events), including branch and Central activities. Special 
attention should be given to the relationship between the 
branches and the Central facility. Tours of the McKim Building 
and receptions could be arranged for both staff and users of 



32 Report of (he Examining Committee 

the branch facihties, as well as visitors; and programs at Cen- 
tral should be publicized at all branches. 

The Committee strongly recommends encouraging volunteers 
to develop community interest in the Library and to alleviate 
the increasing cost of operations. Volunteers could be used at 
information centers, sales desks and for minor maintenance, 
especially in the branches: the existing community identification 
at the branches could easily be developed into even more com- 
munity support. In general, the Library should take more ad- 
vantage of the reservoir of good will and interest that exists 
among those that use the Library regularly. 

Fund Raising 

Current suggestions of heavy reliance on private fundraising 
and of separating and making the Reference Library privately 
supported lose sight of the fact that the Boston Public Library 
is one of the best run, most efficient systems in the city govern- 
ment and demands on an annual basis only 3.5% of the total 
city departmental expenditures. Problems with the Library stem 
from the period from 1980 to 1983, when expenditures dropped 
below 3% (III. I). 



Boston Public Library 33 



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36 Report of the Examining Committee 

The Committee very strongly recommends that the Library's 
share of the city's resources be equal to or more than 3.5% of 
whatever are the total city departmental expenditures for a given 
year; and any fund raising efforts should be addressed to in- 
creasing this base. 



This will not preclude raising funds from other sources, which 
this Committee also advocates in order to make the Library 
more visible as a valuable community asset. State funding has 
increased under the category "Library of Last Recourse" in the 
past year to 37.1 cents per capita, thanks to the efforts of the 
Massachusetts Legislature, the Trustees, and groups such as the 
Library Lobby which rallied support throughout the Eastern 
Region. The Committee strongly advocates aiming for the per 
capita State allocation goal of 75 cents. It must be understood 
that approximately $38,000,000 from private fundraising ef- 
forts would be required to yield the $2,073,000 the state now 
gives annually under this provision. 

Private funding will be most successful when it is coordi- 
nated with public relations and when it is targeted to such spe- 
cial collections as the Print Department (which already has an 
estimable record of gifts to its collections and should be en- 
couraged to continue such acquisitions). Rare Books, Manu- 
scripts, Music, and Fine Arts. Traditionally, some fundraising 
has been and continues to be done through the Associates of 
the Boston Public Library. It should be made clear that mem- 
bership in the Associates is open to anyone who wishes to join 
and pay the membership fee. The purpose of the Association is 
to encourage interest in and support of the entire Library sys- 
tem. Friends' Groups are intended to support and encourage 
interest in individual branch libraries, their collections and ser- 
vices, focusing on each particular library's community. 

Once again, the Committee cautions that the city not be al- 
lowed to decrease its traditional level of support, or to cut book 
purchasing allocation because of a particular facility's trust fund 
income. 



Boston Public Library 37 

Branches 

The Committee's tours of all branches pointed out that all 
branches need structural as well as cosmetic repairs. The Com- 
mittee was shocked at the state of disrepair and unsafe condi- 
tions in many of the branches, and feels that many of these 
could be corrected with a very small amount of funds from the 
budget of the Library. We strongly recommend that a yearly 
allocation be given to each branch library for use in minor re- 
pairs; there is no reason that these have to await a special 
bonding issue. All branches, also, should be accessible to the 
handicapped. 

Every effort should be made to collect overdue books. A 
moratorium on fines could be declared periodically. Each 
branch should have a depository where people could return 
books when the branch is closed. 

The branch librarian also should be able to respond to re- 
quests from readers and order books suitable for their particu- 
lar communities, i.e., foreign language books in some libraries 
or "how-to" books in others. 

The branches should be adequately staffed to reach out to 
the community by school visits and by educational programs at 
each branch. With the closing of so many neighborhood 
schools, the Library has become the community learning cen- 
ter. 

Mutual support should be clearly defined between Central Li- 
brary and all branches; the special report on branches suggests 
a number of possible methods. Note: Several recommendations 
affecting branches already have been discussed (see Staff, Pub- 
lic Relations and Fundraising). 

Central Library 

Again, the issue of staff vacancies and insufficient manning lev- 
els should be addressed. Both buildings — McKim and John- 
son — could be made more attractive and inviting by the use 
of signs, large bulletin boards, posters, and information desks 
in the front lobbies; also, the pervasive, unpleasant odor in the 
Johnson Building must be eliminated. 



38 Report of the Examining Committee 

Security of staff, users, and library materials has been a 
problem for some time. Employment of Pinkerton guards 
within the past few months has greatly decreased the problem 
of personal safety (especially in dark and less well traveled sec- 
tions of the Library, like the Sargent Gallery in the McKim 
building), and this Committee strongly recommends that this 
system continue. But book loss in the General Library (and the 
Research Library) still is unacceptably high, and must be ad- 
dressed immediately. 

It is anticipated that the recent enlargement of the Domestic 
Order List, (used by both Central and branches), under which 
librarians are expected to choose most of their titles, will take 
care of the problem of a too restrictive system of selecting 
books. This should be watched in the coming year. 

General Library 

The momentum of the past few months to replace missing 
books in the collection, make available more copies of the more 
popular titles, improve shelving, and ease and speed up book 
ordering by the staff, all must be fostered by the Trustees. Pro- 
posed attention to the Young Adult activities is appropriate at 
this time and also should be encouraged by the Trustees. In 
cooperation with the Boston Public Schools, programs could 
be initiated to attract more middle-school and high school stu- 
dents from the entire school system; and the facility which is 
targeted to their needs should be given greater emphasis at this 
time. 

Research Library: McKim building 

The report on the restoration for the McKim building points 
out that there may not be the needed funds to fulfill all re- 
quested renovations. The Committee therefore sets forth its or- 
der of priorities: 1) replacement of the mechanical and heating- 
ventilation-air-conditioning systems, which are out-of-date and 
a hazard; 2) renovations necessary for safety requirements ac- 
cording to current codes; 3) work on the exterior to make the 
building weather-proof and tight. 



Boston Public Library 39 

The Committee also suggests that, since city funds may not 
cover the entire cost of the renovation program, the outstand- 
ing architectural and art elements might be attractive and ap- 
propriate for private funding; however, prior to any work being 
undertaken on the murals and other decoration, the Committee 
cautions that further advice be sought from the expert profes- 
sional conservators. 

The Committee further notes that the traffic patterns between 
the McKim and Johnson buildings leave much to be desired. A 
natural accessibility, an even flow between the buildings would 
do a great deal to increase the visibility and the interest in the 
McKim building and its fine collections. Last, the Committee 
assumes that all decisions as to the changes in the function of 
certain spaces will be left to the professional staff. 

Reference Services 

Major problems which need immediate attention are unfilled 
positions and inadequate staff levels, lack of space for collec- 
tions, and poor condition of physical plant. The first has been 
discussed in several sections of this report; the latter two are to 
be addressed somewhat by the proposed renovations to the 
McKim building and storage facilities at Charlestown. The 
Committee simply suggests that the momentum for upgrading 
the services and facilities, begun in recent months and given a 
boost by the awarding by the City Council of the bond issue, 
not only continue but be sped up, with the backing of the 
Trustees. 

The problem of space becomes even more acute in such heav- 
ily used departments as Microtech and Government Documents, 
as increasing amounts of new material are acquired. Additional 
staff in Government Documents would allow for more work on 
specific collections to make them more easily used and more ef- 
ficiently organized. 

The restrictive limitation on use of materials in the Music De- 
partment's Brown Collection and other collections in the de- 
partment are an annoyance to the greater Boston musical 
community, one of the foremost in the nation. The Committee 
recommends that the Trustees look into legal means or conser- 



40 Report of the Examining Committee 

vation needs to make the collection more useful to the perform- 
ers and musicologists in Boston. 

The Print Department needs a renovated gallery to provide 
more flexible installation of exhibits. And it needs a much better 
physical environment. The visitors need work space, and mate- 
rials must be properly shelved. It is the opinion of the Examin- 
ing committee that the outstanding research collections should 
be given more visibility. Print and Rare Book departments 
should be open on Saturdays; high schoolers in Boston should 
be encouraged and shown how to use the facilities. 

Last, it seems to the Committee that the dioramas by Louise 
S. Stimson could be more advantageously displayed for the en- 
joyment of more users of the library; and some of the storybook 
scenes need repairs. 

Conclusion 

Books in our culture have integral value, not only for impart- 
ing information, but for giving pleasure, as artifacts of psycho- 
logical as well as intellectual enrichment. Reading a book or 
magazine is one of the few truly private acts left in this society. 

As unnecessary as it seems to have to reaffirm this policy in 
such a city as Boston, nonetheless the Committee wishes to go 
on record as a strong advocate of the American Library Asso- 
ciation's position on "freedom to read." Censorship cannot be 
viewed as only the problem of "backwater communities," and 
the Trustees must consider themselves guardians of this posi- 
tion. The Committee wishes further to stress that books them- 
selves be paramount in the concerns of the Library 
administrators; that they not sacrifice books completely to in- 
formation referral systems. 

The Committee strongly approves of the Library's "collection 
policy," under which one copy of each book bought for the 
general circulating library is also bought for the reference col- 
lection. The Library contains one of the greatest research and 
reference collections in the United States, and certainly one of 
the few such collections in the public domain and therefore 
"free to all." Today's average, circulating book will be tomor- 
row's reference, for the interpretation of cultural and social his- 



Boston Public Library 41 

tory. If the Library were to restrict itself to purchasing only 
one copy of a book, circulation of it either would have to be 
curtailed or much stricter policies put in effect for book loss. 
Both would be counterproductive to the widest possible dissem- 
ination of the assets of this public Hbrary. 

The Examining Committee is bothered by the concept of the 
Boston Public Library as two Hbraries; a community-based sys- 
tem and a research facility unique in the country because of its 
being publicly supported. Twelve hundred library systems in 
the United States consist of central libraries with a research 
division and a branch system: i.e., Dallas, Detroit, Free Li- 
brary of Philadelphia, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Denver, 
Baltimore, Cleveland ... all supported by city budgets. But 
the special quality of the Boston Public Library lies in the ex- 
tent and the quality of its collections within the research de- 
partment. 

Opinions have been expressed that emphasis at the Library 
in recent years has been on the Central/Research Library to the 
detriment of community library service, and that the Copley 
Square facility, in comparison with the branches, appears to be 
well maintained. The fact is that both have suffered. 

Some opinions also hold that the cost of the Research Li- 
brary personnel should be borne by sources other than property 
taxes. The Committee is on record as supporting state funding 
for the Research Library, as partial support of its services in 
line with its pattern of use (111. 2); the user figures for the Re- 
search Library show that, although nonresidents use it, so do 
Bostonians. 

Further, the philosophy that suggests that citizens pay only 
for those facilities and services from which they directly receive 
benefit, carried to its logical conclusion, implies, for example, 
that persons without children in pubhc schools should not be 
obligated to help support the educational system through taxes. 

Most important, the Boston Public Library must be seen for 
what it is — a valuable entity, one of which the city of Boston 
should be extremely proud. The Library's branches are the vi- 
tal, friendly, neighborhood centers for awakening intellectual 
curiosity; and it is the Library's circulating collections, avail- 



42 



Report of the Examining Committee 



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Boston Public Library 43 

able at the General Library and all branches, that give pleasure 
to the users — of whatever age, income, or educational level. 
Some of these users — and there should be many more — are 
sometimes moved to investigate some subject further, and seek 
out the Research Library. Well located geographically and 
served by several modes of public transportation, the Central 
Library and its research arm are free to all and should remain 
so. The independently motivated person, eager to discover more 
about a whole myriad of subjects, can use the superb collec- 
tions of the Boston Public Library without being questioned, 
without being allied to any institution or place of employment 
or any other organization — religious, civic, or political. 



44 Report of the Examining Committee 

Subcommittee Reports 

Public Relations 

Douglas E. Kenney, Chairman 
Milton Glass 
Renee Glass 

One management person at the Boston Public Library has sole 
responsibility for programs and also for all public relations and 
press releases, bulletin boards, and printed announcements. The 
Public Relations department has only one staff person and has 
the added disadvantage of being in too isolated an area of the 
Library, a long distance from the programs office. The Public 
Relations director also doubles as switchboard supervisor, con- 
ducts tours for important visitors, is responsible for reproduc- 
tion rights, meets and contacts media people, and covers the 
Sales Desk and Lost and Found area. 

Needs and Recommendations: There should be a greatly 
strengthened Public Relations Department to implement more 
aggressive public relations activities and establish working re- 
lationships with the press. There should be more information 
going out of the library on the myriad services available through 
the Library and more effort put into creating a favorable image 
of the Library, not only throughout the city but with other 
libraries in the state. There should be a visitor reception-infor- 
mation center in each lobby of the two main buildings. Tours 
of the fine McKim building should be encouraged for tour 
groups, who would then be encouraged to visit the Sales Desk. 
There should also be more communication with the branches, 
to show the excellent facilities at Copley Square. 

There should also be a new staff person, full-time, to coor- 
dinate volunteer activities and interns, and work with the vol- 
unteer interest groups, the Associates and Friends of the 
Libraries (branch groups). Volunteers also could be used to man 
the information desk, which would alleviate the pressure on an 
already overburdened staff. The use of volunteers could also 
help the security of the Library. Implicit in suggesting a direc- 
tor of volunteers and interns is the notion that there should be 
more intern programs within the Library. 



Boston Public Library 



45 



There should be printed guides to the Library as a whole, 
and separate guides for all the special collections should be 
made available at the information desks and in all branches. 
And there should, once again, either be more support staff or 
a good clipping service employed to keep track of publicity. 

The Graphic Arts department needs another person for type- 
setting and installation of exhibits, a new typesetting machine, 
and refurbishing of its office. 

State Financial Assistance and Fundraising 

WiUiam H. Pear, Chairman 
Sharon J. Kobritz 
Bettina A. Norton 

From its inception in the mid-nineteenth century the Boston 
Public Library has been supported generously almost in its en- 
tirety by the taxes appropriated from the residents of the City 
of Boston. From its inception, also, it has been intended and 




"Education in Ireland Today," typical of the many programs held each year in 
the Rabb Lecture Hall. 



46 Report of the Examining Committee 

expected that the Library provide services to all of the public 
who care to avail themselves of them, no matter where such 
persons legally may reside. In the 1880's the major new "McKim 
Building" was being planned to be constructed in Copley Square 
on land transferred to the Trustees by the Commonwealth, 
along with state authority to take added parcels by eminent 
domain and to borrow construction funds. It was understood 
that the Library was to continue "Free to All," as is perma- 
nently carved into the.fagade of the structure. The accompa- 
nying illustration shows the new Library graphically as the 
major keystone element in the burgeoning statewide library net- 
work. Over the years, however, with changes in transportation 
and communications as well as styles of living, a higher and 
higher percentage of the users of the Boston Public Library no 
longer need live within the legal limits of the City, which have 
not expanded since 1 January 1912. Long-range fiscal planning 
to provide for a stable and appropriate funding base for the 
Library and underpin its operations is necessary. 

Private gifts 

As a separate public corporation, as well as being municipal 
officials in charge of the library department of Boston, the 
"Trustees of the Public Library of the City of Boston" are able 
to, and from time to time do, receive gifts and benefactions 
from public-spirited persons. Some of these have been substan- 
tial, particularly those to help in construction of the buildings; 
and extensive portions of the collections of books, prints, and 
other valuable materials have come to the Library over the years 
in this way, so that it has grown to be the outstanding resource 
it is. Persons making such gifts tend to wish to specify their use 
and usually to receive some recognition. Implicit in these gifts 
is a wish to improve, extend, enhance the Library in some way 
— so that the gift does not merely replace usual and ordinary 
support from regular sources. 

In fact, it should be realized that income from trust funds 
acquired over all these years and available for operational ex- 
pense even in broad construction is in truth quite low in com- 
parison with the actual and needed budgets each year — only 



Boston Public Library 47 

in the realm of 1% or so. This is not much of an "endowment." 
A campaign to encourage giving would perhaps help, but it is 
more likely to succeed if a schedule of identifiable and discrete 
purposes has been developed, to appeal to prospective patrons. 
Such can cover a wide range of need — the specialized resource 
collections, the extensive artistic renovations in the McKim 
Building, and physical conditions and program services for the 
local branch facilities. 

Federal grants 

In recent years, as in many other fields of public service, there 
have been programs of some Federal financial support for local 
library needs. As has been seen, however, this cannot be relied 
upon for regular purposes on a long-range basis. What can be 
had for special projects will always be useful and should regu- 
larly be sought out and utilized. This source in fact is quite 
similar to private gifts and is more easily come by for restricted 
and unique ends. The sums may come in larger packets, but 
often involve more strings and staff effort in procurement and 
implementation. 

State aid 

However, for any regular long-term financial support from 
other public sources, it is imperative that the broad-based re- 
sources of the state be looked to as well as the traditional lim- 
ited and restricted property tax of the City. Such regular 
support can be achieved where and as it is justified and where 
the purpose served accords with state policies and purposes. 
The unique operations of the Boston Public Library, with its 
capabilities and resources unmatched by any other nearby pub- 
lic library, certainly do so qualify. In fact the Research Li- 
brary, while an integrated part of the city system supporting 
the functional success of the adjoining General Library and the 
other branches across the city, also performs many of the func- 
tions performed in other states by formal State Libraries. 

The Massachusetts State Library has never performed the 
services offered to public and other libraries throughout the 



48 Report of the Examining Committee 

state by state libraries such as those in New Hampshire, Maine, 
and New York. Our State Library is, for better or worse, and 
has been over the years perceived as a support agency for the 
legislative and executive branches of the state government. It is 
the Boston Public Library, therefore, that is the leader and 
support of public libraries throughout the Commonwealth; this 
is recognized by the state offering some funding to the Boston 
Public Library. It is not to the branches nor to the General 
Library housed in the Johnson Building that Massachusetts 
public libraries look for aid; it is to the Research Library with 
its extended collections and excellent staff. The Research Li- 
brary has a responsibility beyond city lines. Every effort must 
be made to maintain the collections and the quality of service 
supplied by generations of devoted, professionally trained li- 
brarians. The collections housed in the McKim Building are the 
most distinguished and important of any New England public 
library. 

The Trustees and staff of the Library are to be commended, 
as are many of the members of the General Court and Execu- 
tive of the state for their recognition of these facts and efforts 
in recent years to build upon the long-established programs of 
state support for their major Massachusetts library. Because 
the Library does truly serve the general people of the Common- 
wealth and has from its beginnings, and because great numbers 
of state residents realize this and are thus willing to support 
state aid going to Boston, much has been achieved in this area. 
An adequate level of assistance commensurate with the services 
and needs has yet to be reached and must be continually worked 
towards, year by year. 

The topic of state aid to the services provided by the Boston 
Public Library is complicated by the fact that there are cur- 
rently three separate programs by which funds are being made 
available to the city treasury to be expended by the Library. If 
all are combined and seen as one sum, a false impression of 
the magnitude of state aid can be had. (Also a complication is 
set up by the system of paying state-appropriated funds to the 
city treasury, from which they then must be again appropriated 
by the local government before being used by the Library, re- 



Boston Public Library 



49 



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jk 



Si 



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A Public Library free to every 
man wdman and ihild 

Annual circulation three volumes 
TO every inhabitant 









4^50000 VOLUMES ANNUAL CIRCULATION 9.000.000 VOLUMES 



PUBLIC LIBRARIES 

MASSACHUSETTS 



iS. 



--*» -J 



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PwW/c Libraries of Massachusetts, lithograph printed in 1895. Courtesy ot the 
Essex Institute, Salem, Massachusetts. 

quiring the city to set up a "revolving fund." So appropriation 
and expenditure records do not easily compare.) 

One program is statewide and made available to all library 
systems equally on a per-capita basis. (General Laws, Chapter 
78, Section 19A). This is a general recognition by the state of 
the value of library services, but is not a specific recognition of 
the special status of Boston's resources to the state. Next, there 
is the program of regional library services, which for the East- 
ern Region, one of three, is administered by Boston. Funds 
coming under this program are in fact for expenditures across 
the region, through Boston and then the seven other subre- 
gional libraries and for the services in all of eastern Massachu- 
setts. This is also on a per-capita formula, but funds for the 
Eastern Region have always been less than for the Central and 
Western Regional systems run out of Worcester and Hatfield, 
(to compensate, it is felt, for the greater density of population 
in the east). These were increased by 5C in 1981, for all three 
regions. 

Often confused with the regional assistance program is the 
major specific aid for Boston, referred to as "Library of Last 



50 Report of the Examining Committee 

Recourse." Both this and the regions were recognized in Gen- 
eral Laws Chapter 78, Section 19(c), as amended. This is where 
the efforts of the Library must continue to be concentrated, so 
that the program can eventually, in a reasonably near time, 
achieve the adequate, justified level of 75<i: per capita, related 
to the budget required for the research library operations and 
the use of it by citizens across the state. This use, to be reiter- 
ated, is not that of the regional program, nor of the interlibrary 
loan program. 

As a result of support from private groups beginning in 1981 
of the Library's efforts to increase general recognition across 
the state and in the State House, the original program of state 
per-capita aid has gradually been increased in stages under suc- 
cessive annual stage budgets from a token 5<t per capita to the 
current 37. K, a substantial gain towards the justified goal of 
at least 75C per capita. It is understood that the state also has 
tax and budget problems, and such a gradual process towards 
the needed level is to be expected. However, it means that what 
has been accomplished must still be built upon, and that no 
partial success in one or three past years can allow efforts to be 
relaxed until the adequate basis has been achieved. 

Central Library 

General Library: Bettina A. Norton 
Research Library: 

Reference: Frederick S. Allis, Jr., Chairman 
Ralph J. Crandall 
Bettina A. Norton 
Brunetta Wolfman 
McKim Building: Rodney Armstrong, Chairman 
Daniel J. Coolidge 

General Library 

Since the General Library opened in 1972, the collection has 
received very heavy use (111. 6). It holds the largest and most 
comprehensive circulating collection in the entire system and 
serves as the neighborhood "branch" for the Fenway, China- 



Boston Public Library 51 

town, Bay Village, and the Back Bay. It attracts users of many 
types: students, browsers, working people on a lunch hour or 
day off, senior chizens, resident readers (there almost daily), 
children on school assignments, etc. An* accurate reading of the 
ratio of resident to nonresident users of the General Library 
cannot be tabulated from existing data; library cards only mon- 
itor circulation and not those who browse but do not withdraw 
books. 

All departments are trying to make up for five years of ne- 
glect. With the exception of maintenance, the General Library's 
problems are similar to those of the branches. Many books need 
to be replaced or discarded. There are also many titles missing 
from the General Library Adult collection which are not 
charged and are therefore unrecoverable. Reserves are a major 
problem in the Library. This means that the user does not find 
a book even though it is listed in the catalogue, and that many 
of the requests of other Massachusetts libraries for interlibrary 
loans cannot be honored. In a statistical survey done by the 
Interlibrary Loan Office in June 1983, and given to the Com- 
mittee by the General Library staff, 45% of the titles requested 
by public libraries in Massachusetts and that were owned by 
the Boston Public Library had to be reserved because they were 
not on shelf, while only 30% of the titles were available on 
shelf to fill requests. The remaining 25% were from the Re- 
search Library and could not, until recently, be loaned; how- 
ever, there is now a policy of interlibrary loan of research 
materials, within strict guidelines. 

In addition to the problem of books not on shelf, some of 
the titles in the General Library are not available in sufficient 
quantity to meet demand; the current reserve list shows that 
some persons have been waiting for the most popular titles for 
over a year. 

The raising by the city of appropriations to the Library to 
pre- 1978 levels has allowed the General Library staff to begin 
to correct this major deficiency in the Library's operations. The 
Committee notes with satisfaction that many of these situations 
are being improved and hopes that this continues. 

Priority in budget allocations should be directed to further 



52 



Report of the Examining Committee 



book acquisition, and cataloging of current books as well as 
the backlog should continue to be pursued aggressively. 

The Committee is puzzled by the limitations on book acqui- 
sition entailed by the "Domestic Order List" and "Inspection 
Room" systems of book ordering used by the Library. Al- 
though the latter recently has been enlarged, the Committee 
feels that every effort should be made to make the process of 
book ordering for the staff as easy and efficient as possible. 




Visitors to the Audio Visual department in the General Library. 



The Acquisitions Department is to be commended for sup- 
porting the General Library by putting books on "reserve" for 
such new, special programs as "Discussion Group." Recogniz- 
ing that a large part of the clientele at the central General Li- 
brary are neighborhood "browsers," as they are in the smaller 
branch libraries, the administration of the General Library is 
engaged in improving services to them. This suggests generating 
more programs such as the "Never Too Late" series, the afore- 
mentioned Discussion Group, and increasing the number of 
available popular titles. 



Boston Public Library 53 

Shelving, which had been a severe problem at the General 
Library due to shortage of personnel in the past five years, has 
improved greatly under the recent budgetary increases. And the 
proposed focus on Young Adult Activities is timely and should 
be encouraged by the Trustees. It should be related closely to 
the curriculum of the Boston Public Schools and to the use of 
the Research Library. 

A random, informal survey of about a dozen of the users did 
not produce any great dissatisfaction with the workings of the 
library, especially with the recent evidences of improved con- 
ditions, beyond the availability of certain titles and the need 
for good signs and an information desk. However, the smell in 
the General Library's Johnson building is unpleasant and ef- 
forts should be made to get rid of it. 

Research Library 

During the past five years, there have been a number of defi- 
ciencies in staff support in the Research Library: Social Science 
Reference and Interlibrary Loan are down two professional po- 
sitions; Government Documents, down one; Humanities Ref- 
erence, down two support positions; Rare Books, down one 
professional and one support position. This past year, two 
professional and several support positions which had been va- 
cant in the Fine Arts Department for the past 2Vi years were 
filled, and they are again at strength. This department also ben- 
efits from a high level of support from volunteers, a model for 
the rest of the library. Turnover is high in personnel in the 
Microtext Department, reportedly because of the particular de- 
mands of the job. The Print Department recently filled the po- 
sition of assistant, vacant for ten years due to budgetary cut- 
backs; however, the department is still woefully understaffed, 
especially in light of its ambitious program of exhibits and pub- 
lications. 

The Library also has had to absorb costs of collective bar- 
gaining agreements subsequent to personnel budgets being set, 
which effectively cuts funding for staff positions technically 
granted. 



54 Report of the Examining Committee 

During the recent low period, book delivery services were 
slowed down, reshelving more and more delayed, and shelving 
of new acquisitions virtually suspended for a time. Searching 
through unsorted materials resulted in long delays and in fail- 
ure to deliver materials actually known to be in the Library but 
not locatable. Overcrowding in certain subject areas, which 
normally would be relieved by shifting books and periodicals, 
could not be accomplished with inadequate staff. There was a 
great deal of neglect of behind-the-scenes services, as the staff 
had to meet the immediate requests from users. 

The ongoing work that professional staff normally performs 
to make the Library's books and periodicals more accessible to 
the public, such as preparing catalogs, indices, and bibliogra- 
phies is, of course, interrupted during periods when direct ser- 
vice demands almost total staff time. 

The public also was distressed by the drastic cut in hours of 
service which effectively made the Research Library inaccessible 
to working people for a time. 

Funds for purchasing books and periodicals were also re- 
duced. The effect is not as immediately visible as reduction in 
staff and hours of service, but its impact on the quality of ref- 
erence and research collections will persist for a long time. 
Many of the materials not obtained during these years because 
of lack of funds will be very difficult, and some impossible, to 
obtain. 

It is therefore reassuring that, through this period of severely 
reduced budgets, the staff morale remained high, with some in- 
dividuals doing much more than could reasonably be expected. 
In recent visits, the Committee members were struck by the 
reasonableness of the requests of department heads; staffing 
needs did not seem to be exaggerated and requests generally 
were modest and realistic and in the best interests of the users. 
Every staff person visited was delighted to have talked with a 
member of the Examining Committee; some staff persons said 
that it was their first visit in fifteen or twenty years. 

Space — or lack of it — is also a major problem in the Re- 
search Library. The Social Science, Humanities Reference, and 
Stack Areas all are at capacity; Government Documents and 



Boston Public Library 55 

Microtext departments are overcrowded. The Print Department 
is about to explode. Its physical environment must be given 
high priority. Some of this could be addressed by the staff 
themselves — putting in order a major reference library and 
shelving new books and catalogues. But the area desperately 
needs more table space for the examination of prints. 

The majority of the staff in the Research Library have little 
or no private area, and the problem will be compounded by 
projected increases in new bulky equipment: microfiche read- 
ers, computer terminals. 

The lack of equipment needed for efficient operation reduces 
Research Library personnel's ability to accomplish its public 
service objectives. The budgetary deficiencies meant that the li- 
brary was unable to purchase up-to-date equipment, and the 
Library consequently has lagged behind comparable libraries in 
this area. Simple equipment such as typewriters and telephones 
is often antiquated and frustrating to use. Until the past two 
months, there were no functioning change machines in the en- 
tire Research Library. 

The data processing center for the Library is located in the 
Johnson building and there is no access to the on-hne catalog 
from the old building. For this reason, books which are added 
to the main collection are not reflected in a timely fashion in 
the catalog in the Research Library. This hampers efforts to 
serve patrons off the street. Good news is that the Library's 
catalog at the Central Library now has terminals at all branches 
and interfaces with the Eastern Regional System. 

Delays in filling Departmental orders and slowness of cata- 
loguing bother all major sections of the Research Library. 
Presently, if a book is not available for interlibrary loan, a 
purchasing requisition will be made. Unfortunately, the acqui- 
sition process can be extremely slow — a year or more — re- 
sulting in long and frustrating delays for the patron. 
Compounding this is the major problem of people failing to 
return books to the main library. 

The new laboratory for book, print, and document conser- 
vation, installed in 1981 through the help of a Federal grant, is 
located within the Rare Book Department. Presumably, it will 



56 



Report of the Examining Committee 



be available to all departments of the Research Library. 

The specific limitations on the use of the Brown Collection 
in the Music Department, as well as other collections of music, 
hinder their usefulness. The fact that none of the material can 
be duplicated is a major annoyance to the musical community 
of Boston. The Trustees should look into legal means, or con- 
servation needs, to make this collection more accessible. 

The recent increase in staff levels might make it possible for 
the Print and Rare Book Departments, both closed on the 
weekends, to be open on Saturdays. (The Rare Book Depart- 
ment was open on Saturdays until 1972; the Print Department 
has not been open on weekends for at least the past twenty 
years.) 




Bates Hall, the main reference room in the Research Library. 



Boston Public Library 57 

Despite the difficulties in all these departments, they are de- 
livering the services they are expected to. Though there is a lot 
of room for improvement, it may be that because they are able 
to perform their basic mission and more visible tasks, that their 
needs do not seem as great as those in other departments of the 
Library. 

McKim building 

All departments are dealing with antiquated HVAC systems. In 
addition, the building poses a major threat to its collections; in 
the Social Science, Humanities Reference, and Interlibrary Loan 
departments, the heating system is close to 90 years old. Water 
is dripping onto bookshelves as well as inside walls and win- 
dows. The last paint job and refurbishing of the Print Gallery 
was done in 1964. Inadequate lighting exists throughout the 
building, especially in the third floor Sargent Gallery, the Print 
Department's Wiggin Gallery, and the Humanities Reference 
Department, which daily takes complaints on lighting. Rest 
rooms, especially women's, are in deplorable condition: soap 
dispensers are broken, toilet seats not fastened down, and some 
rest rooms have no heat. The quality of construction of the 
McKim building is superior to that of other library facilities 
and thus, to an untrained eye, may appear less neglected than 
other buildings. This, however, is not so. 

The McKim building is outstanding, one of the country's 
greatest architectural accomplishments and major monuments. 
It has served readers and staff extremely well over the years and 
is worth every possible eff'ort to preserve and restore it. Ap- 
proximately $12,500,000 has been made available by a loan or- 
der from the city to undertake an ambitious program, to get 
underway by the end of 1984. The Report for the Restoration 
prepared by Stull Associates, Inc., is an extensive, skillful, and 
sensitive document which clearly recognizes the importance of 
the building. While it is heartening that the city has set aside 
this money, it must be stated that this amount will, in likeli- 
hood, be insufficient to cover the expenses as outlined in the 
report. The financial figures are from 1981 and there has been 
considerable escalation in construction costs since then, which 



58 Report of the Examining Committee 

do not seem to be lessening as time goes on. It would seem, in 
light of this, that the most important goals should be the re- 
placement of the mechanical. Heating- Ventilation-Air Condi- 
tion systems and electrical systems which are not only out of 
date, but a hazard. Second, there can be no hesitation in mak- 
ing those necessary renovations required by modern safety 
standards. Third, the exterior needs work in order to make the 
building weatherproof. The next priority should be improving 
the public traffic connections and patterns between the Johnson 
and McKim buildings, which leave much to be desired. 

It is also suggested that since city funds may not cover the 
entire cost of this vitally needed restoration program, that cer- 
tain areas might be more attractive for private funding than 
others. New fire provisions, new plumbing, new H.V.A.C., and 
new electrical wiring are not necessarily appealing to prospec- 
tive donors. Thus, it might be wise to leave the work on such 
outstanding features of the McKim Building as the main en- 
trance hall. Bates Hall, the interior courtyard, the Wiggin Gal- 
lery, and those spaces containing fine wall paintings to one side 
while the basic work is undertaken as soon as possible. This is 
clearly not the preferred way to proceed, but what may be nec- 
essary. 

It should be kept in mind that the most controversial part of 
any restoration program for the McKim Building will relate to 
the restoration/conservation of the wall murals in the building. 
In the opinion of many art experts, the murals by John Singer 
Sargent were almost destroyed by previous efforts at restora- 
tion. Thus, while finding no fault with the report on the murals 
within the Stull Associates, Inc., Report, it is suggested that 
prior to any work being undertaken on the murals that further 
expert advice be sought. While one of the major reasons for 
installing a proper climate control system within the McKim 
Building is for the preservation of the collection housed therein, 
another purpose would be for the preservation of the interior 
of the building itself including the murals. 

It is urged that every effort be made by the appropriate li- 
brary and city officials to get the restoration program underway 
this year because the necessary work will obviously take a long 



Boston Public Library 59 

time to accomplish, perhaps as much as three years. Each day 
that goes past without restoration work on the building will 
mean less will be accomplished for tlje public monies being ex- 
pended, and we shall continue being seriously neglectful of what 
is one of the state's greatest architectural treasures and the col- 
lections it contains. 

There should be no spirit of competition engendered by the 
needs of the whole library system; the deterioration of public 
library buildings took some years and correction will take a 
long time, patience, and a clear plan with priorities defined. 
Part of those priorities must be the basic work on the McKim 
Building as outlined in this report. 

Beyond these recommendations, it would seem that the de- 
cisions as to the changes in the function of certain spaces within 
the McKim Building should be left in the hands of the profes- 
sional staff. In any phased renovation/reconstruction project, 
there is obvious competition for priority. 

Branches 

Alice Hennessey, Chairman 
Edwin L. Francis 
Frances Howe 
Aurora Salvucci 
Francis W. Sidlauskas 

The report of the Examining Committee of 1869 placed special 
emphasis on "extending the circulation and usefulness of the 
Library by establishing branch libraries in East Boston, South 
Boston and the Highland District." Since 1869 these first three 
branches have grown to 25, which members of the Examining 
Committee visited beginning on October 11, 1983. The Com- 
mittee held discussions with staff" and users of these branches 
and correlated information gathered from questionnaires com- 
pleted by the branch libraries; they then spoke with the Super- 
visor of Branches and met with representatives from various 
community groups interested in the Library, Friends of the Li- 
brary groups. The Save Our Libraries Committee, and the 
Mayor's Transition Team. 



60 Report of the Examining Committee 

It is very important that Central realizes the connection with 
the Branch Libraries and that they all realize their relationship 
with one another. This connection must be more clearly de- 
fined. A good starting point is the position of Supervisor of 
Branches. On December 1, 1896, this office was created "to 
unify the outlying system, to strengthen the collection of books, 
to improve the equipment, and to introduce uniform and mod- 
ern methods of administration." This position must be consid- 
ered an important slot in the Organization Chart. In the past 
five years, there have been six different persons in this position. 
They were all very competent individuals, but this does not lead 
to a sense of continuity. The present Supervisor of Branches 
meets regularly with staff" from the branches: 14 branch librar- 
ians, 8 generaHsts, 5 adult librarians, 2 young adult librarians, 
and 10 children's Hbrarians. These professional librarians should 
be encouraged to share ideas and information and equipment 
among the branches. 

As part of a public relations program, tours of the McKim 
Building should be arranged for people from the Branch Li- 
braries (staff" as well as public). All announcements and publi- 
cations from the Central Library should be posted in branch 
libraries on a bulletin board devoted specifically to Library af- 
fairs. The National Endowment for the Humanities Learning 
Library in 1981 began to move out into the neighborhoods, 
which is a good beginning. 

This committee realizes the value of support groups for both 
Central and the branches. The Associates of the Boston Public 
Library already perform a valuable service and should be en- 
couraged by the Director to form a Friends group with the goal 
of a citywide Friends group in the future. This committee feels 
that such measures will strengthen communication and coop- 
eration among staff and users at Central and the branches. 

All branches need structural as well as cosmetic repairs; the 
Committee was shocked at the state of disrepair and unsafe 
conditions which existed in the branches. We strongly recom- 
mend that an allocation of funds be made for immediate re- 
pairs. These repairs are critical and can be accomplished with 
a very small percentage of the Library budget. 



Boston Public Library 61 

On the Boylston Street side of the Library is carved an in- 
scription that reads: 

The Commonwealth requires the education of the people as 

the safeguard of order and liberty. 
In June 1895 "a committee representing the Trustees of the 
Boston Public Library and the Boston School Committee pro- 
posed a system of cooperation between the Library and the 
public schools." This is more important today in a city with an 
adult illiteracy rate of 40%. Citizens must be able to look to 
the branch libraries as a source of intellectual life in their com- 
munities. All of this means increased staffing for both Central 
and the branches. 

The proceeds from any trust fund designated for a specific 
branch should be added to the allocation for that branch. Each 
branch should have an allotment for books, periodicals, and 
supplies to be administered by the Branch Librarian. Friends 
groups at the individual branches should be able to apply for 
grants for their branch through the Central Library. 

This spirit of cooperation has to start at the top. Branch per- 
sonnel should attend Trustees' meetings, and minutes should be 
made available in the branches. Trustees should visit all 
branches, talk with staff" and users, and attend occasional pro- 
grams in the branches; the Director should address the con- 
cerns of the branches and visit them regularly and support and 
encourage the staff" and users. 

Each branch, although connected to Central and to the other 
branches, has particular needs depending on the composition 
of the neighborhood in which it is located. All branches at this 
time, however, share these common needs: 

A professional librarian in charge of each branch; 

A children's librarian as well as other appropriately qualified 

staff"; 
Adequate custodial help; 
Access for the handicapped; 

Better security, protection for the staff", burglar alarm sys- 
tems and smoke detectors; 
A system of magnetic tapes on library materials to halt theft; 



62 



Report of the Examining Committee 



Adequate specific budget for books, periodicals, and main- 
tenance for each library; 

Staff" room and lavatory; 

Public rest rooms; 

Room for community programs; 

Access to trust funds earmarked for a particular branch; 

Appropriate foreign language books in each branch, i.e., 
Cambodian, Vietnamese, Spanish, and Italian; 

High quality photocopiers with a service repair policy; Com- 
munity bulletin boards; and 

Preservation and display of gifts presented to a particular 
library. 




One of the popular reading programs for children in the branch libraries. 



Boston Public Library 63 

Members of the Examining Committee of the 
Boston Public Library 

Bettina a. Norton, Vice Chairmart and Convener 6 RoIUns 
Place, Boston, MA 02114 

Director, Cambridge Historical Society 

Founder and Chairman of the Library Lobby (Thomas Boylston 
Adams, Honorary Chairman), the group which lobbied for 
increased state aid for the Library under the provision for "Li- 
brary of Last Recourse" 

Visiting Scholar, Print Department, Boston Public Library, 
1970-71 

Member of the Associates of the Boston Public Library 

Author 

Organizer of several programs at the Boston Public Library 

Lifelong resident of Boston: attended Boston Public Schools 

Frederick S. Allis, Jr. 8 Gloucester Street, Boston, MA 
02115 

Editor of Publications, Colonial Society of Massachusetts 

Instructor in History, Phillips Academy, Andover, 1936-1979; 
Chairman of department, 1969-1979 

President of the Trustees of the Memorial Hall Library, An- 
dover, 1973-1979 

Author 

Rodney Armstrong 101 Chestnut Street, Boston, MA 02108 
Director and Librarian, Boston Athenaeum 
Librarian, Phillips Exeter Academy, 1950-1973 
Consultant for many libraries' building projects and program 
activities 

Daniel J. Coolidge 50 West Cedar Street, Boston, MA 

02114 
Architect, Shepley, Bulfinch, Richardson, & Abbott 
Architect for many libraries and educational institutions in New 

England, as well as Trinity and the Old South churches in 

Copley Square 
Lifelong resident of Boston 



64 Report of the Examining Committee 

Ralph J. Crandall 2 Chandler Street, Maynard, MA 
Director, New England Historic and Genealogical Society; 

Editor of Publications, 1974-1982 
Corresponding Secretary, Boston Author's Club 
Steering Committee, Boston Pilot Project 
Author 

Edwin L. Francis 9 Hawthorne Place, Boston, MA 02114 
Professor of Foreign Languages, Massachusetts State College at 
Salem; developed department and built foreign languages col- 
lection at the Salem State Library from nothing to over 5,000 
titles 
Member of the Examining Committee since 1972 
Lifelong resident of Boston; attended Boston Public Schools 

Milton L. Glass 790 Boylston Street, Boston, MA 02199 
Vice President and Treasurer, Gillette Company 
Member of the Associates of the Boston Public Library 
School Board Chairman, Mashpee, MA, 1971-1977 
Member of the Board, Mashpee Library and Museum, 1975- 
1977 

Renee Glass 790 Boylston Street, Boston, MA 02199 
Member of the Associates of the Boston Public Library 
Founder, Board of Friends of Mashpee Library, 1974-1977 
Board of Friends of Mashpee Indian Museum, 1976-1977 
Volunteer, Cotuit Library, 1971-1976 
Secretary to Librarian, Berkshire Athenaeum, Pittsfield, MA, 

1946-1950 
Volunteer for several programs at the Boston Public Library 

Alice Hennessey 26 Park Street, West Roxbury, MA 02132 
Member of the Associates of the Boston Public Library 
President, Friends of the West Roxbury Branch Library 
Member of Save Our Libraries Group 
Member of the Library Lobby for increased state aid for the 

Library under the provision for "Library of Last Recourse" 
Lifelong resident of Boston; attended Boston Public Schools 



Boston Public Library 65 

Frances Howe 92 Mount Vernon Street, Boston, MA 02108 
Member of the Examining Committee since 1962 

Vice Chairman, 1981/82 
Member of the Associates of the Boston Public Library 

Vice Chairman of the Associates, 1979-1984 
Trustee of the Boston Athenaeum since 1983 

Douglas E. Kenney 21 East Concord Street, Boston, MA 
Manager, Corporate Communications, Gillette Company 

Sharon J. Kobritz 790 Boylston Street, Boston, MA 02199 

Member of the Boston Athenaeum 

Author 

William H. Pear 55 Mount Vernon Street, Boston, MA 
02108 

Curator, Nichols House Museum 

Employee of the Boston Redevelopment Authority and City of 
Boston Public Facilities Department, 1962-1976; capital bud- 
get planner for new community schools and branch library 
system (one-third of current branch library buildings) 

Member of the Library Lobby for increased state aid under "Li- 
brary of Last Recourse" 

Member of the Associates of the Boston Library 

Resident of Boston since 1961 

Aurora Salvucci 18 Cresthill Road, Brighton, MA 02135 

Member of Examining Committee 

Worked summers in Brighton branch of library, late 1940's 

Volunteer in Boston Public School libraries, 1970's 

Member of Board of Brighton Historical Society (currently 

President; formerly, chairman of Research Comm.), which 

meets frequently in Brighton branch 
Resident of Boston since 1942 



66 Report of the Examining Committee 

Francis W. Sidlauskas 5 Sunset Hill Road, Roslindale, MA 
02131 

Editorial staff, The Boston Pilot 

Member of the Examining Committee since 1968 

Built library collection for the Division of Theater Arts, Boston 
University 

Instrumental in acquiring Albert Meckel collection for the Bos- 
ton Public Library (music, recordings, prints . . .) 

Lifelong resident of Boston; attended Boston Public Schools 

Brunetta R. Wolfman 276 Marlborough Street, Boston, 

MA 02116 
President, Roxbury Community College 

Executive Planner, Mass. Department of Education, 1978-1982 
Active supporter of public programs and community education 
Resident of Boston since 1974 



Note: Affiliations of members of the Examining Committee 
which are given are limited to those which are relevant to their 
position on the Committee. 



Boston Public Library 67 



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68 Report of the Examining Committee 

The data processing center for the Library is located in the 
Johnson building and there is no access to the on-line catalog 
from the old building. For this reason, books which are added 
to the main collection are not reflected in a timely fashion in 
the catalog in the Research Library. This hampers efforts to 
serve patrons off the street. Good news is that the Library's on- 
line access at the Central Library now has terminals at all 
branches and interfaces with the Eastern Regional System. 

Delays in filling Departmental orders and slowness of cata- 
loguing bother all major sections of the Research Library. 
Presently, if a book is not available for interlibrary loan, a 
purchasing requisition will be made. Unfortunately, the acqui- 
sition process can be extremely slow — a year or more — re- 
sulting in long and frustrating delays for the patron. 
Compounding this is the major problem of people failing to 
return books to the main library. 

The new laboratory for book, print, and document conser- 
vation, installed in 1981 through the help of a Federal grant, is 
located within the Rare Book Department. Presumably, it will 
be available to all departments of the Research Library. 

The specific limitations on the use of the Brown Collection 
in the Music Department, as well as other collections of music, 
hinder their usefulness. The fact that none of the material can 
be duplicated is a major annoyance to the musical community 
of Boston. The Trustees should look into legal means, or con- 
servation needs, to make this collection more accessible. 

The recent increase in staff levels might make it possible for 
the Print and Rare Book Departments, both closed on the 
weekends, to be open on Saturdays. (The Rare Book Depart- 
ment was open on Saturdays until 1972; the Print Department 
has not been open on weekends for at least the past twenty 
years.) 

Despite the difficulties in all these departments, they are de- 
livering the services they are expected to. Though there is a lot 
of room for improvement, it may be that because they are able 
to perform their basic mission and more visible tasks, that their 
needs do not seem as great as those in other departments of the 
Library. 



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