THE BOSTON PUBLIC LIBRARY • 1987—1
BOSTON PUBLIC LIBRARY
For the Year Ending June 30, 1988
TRUSTEES OF THE PUBLIC LIBRARY
OF THE CITY OF BOSTON
KEVIN F. MOLONEY
WILLIAM M. BULGER
DORIS KEARNS GOODWIN
MARIANNE REA LUTHIN
DIRECTOR AND LIBRARIAN
As the accompanying report of the director makes clear, in fiscal year
1988 the Boston Public Library made substantial progress toward the
goal of restoration and revitalization. That such progress was made
is due to the leadership of the director, Arthur Curley, and to the
diligent efforts of the Library's staff. It is really through the constant
work of hundreds of women and men who, day after day, carry out
the Library's mission of free public library service, that the Library
earned Boston Magazine's citation:
Boston Magazine is pleased to honor the Boston Public Library
as Best Revamped Local Resource. In recognition of quality and
excellence. Best of Boston, 1988.
As always, I am most grateful for the support and cooperation of my
colleagues, Mr. Bulger, Mrs. Gaines, Mrs. Luthin, and Mrs. Goodwin,
who care for, protect, and defend this wonderful institution.
Kevin F. Moloney
Assembling the highpoints of the year for this annual report reminds
us of an observation Charles Lamb once made about the year's end:
"I never hear [the bells which ring out the Old Year] without a gather-
ing up [in] my mind... of all the images that have diffused over the
past twelve month." This gathering up of old images for FY87/88 is
marked by several positive words: progress, innovation, staff vitali-
ty, community involvement. The Library moved forward in a cam-
paign spirit — a campaign to raise funds for readying the Library for
the next century; a campaign to put a library card into the hands of
every child; a campaign to adopt state-of-the-art technology for library
processes and services; and a continuing campaign to revitalize the
resources and services of our world-class institution.
In the sections which follow, citations of events, activities, or ser-
vices in individual units are simply examples of activities frequently
duplicated in other departments. It is hoped that this record of the
Boston Public Library for FY87/88 will generate pride in Bostonians
and determination in Library staff to continue its record of service.
With marked purpose and vitality, the Research Library staff moved
forward on all fronts, at administrative and direct public service levels,
giving attention to the overall mission of the Library coupled with
the specific goals of the Library as a major research center. Staff par-
ticipation in important broad library activities included program plan-
ning, collective bargaining, numerous task forces, and problem solv-
ing meetings. Targeted for full attention within the Research Library
agenda were assignments related to the McKim building restoration,
preservation, organization and servicing of special collections, expan-
sion of electronic systems, special projects, and staff development.
Activity centered on virtually everything from caricatures and com-
ic books to stained glass windows, from treasures of the past to
futuristic handling of information by miniscule electronic chips.
Looking ahead to the McKim restoration, staff concentrated on plan-
ning for shifting of materials and for remote storage, also planning
for future expanded services including Sound Archives, Special Col-
lections, and a Map Department. In preparation for the physical moves
mandated by the restoration, virtually thousands of cartons of gifts
were examined, their importance assessed, and processing priorities
Preservation efforts this year concentrated on newspapers, rebin-
ding or microfilming selected reference works, and continuing educa-
tion of staff in preservation. In efforts to make specialized Research
Library collections more accessible, Research Library staff, part-time
summer workers, and volunteers continued organization of the Joan
of Arc, Jordan, Laning Humphrey collections, and the Reilly, Loef-
fler, Coletti, and Ely papers.
Other projects included sorting a backlog of sheet music, prepar-
ing radical newspapers for microfilming, work on Seamus Heaney
publications and two Russian collections of drama and classics, and
listing of Peronista pamphlets. Additional projects dealt with inter-
national government documents, publications of small presses, and
interpretation of the Library's holdings in sports and city records.
Reference departments and collections were heavily used. A total
of 451,906 items were supplied in-house to users; 137,370 questions
were answered. More items (231,833) were used by non-Bostonians,
confirming the importance of the Library as a resource for the entire
Beyond the daily assignments of Research Library staff was the com-
mitment to special projects often performed under grant or gift
monies. Such a major activity was the continuation of newspaper
preservation microfilming supported by a Higher Education Act, Ti-
tle lie grant from the U.S. Department of Education. This effort,
cooperative with the state library and numerous public libraries, is
dedicated to completing runs of newpapers and preparing them for
Important in the Research Library's preservation activities this year
was the Peabody and Stearns Project, funded by the National Endow-
ment for the Humanities and carried out by the Fine Arts Depart-
ment. Designated as a phased preservation needs assessment, the pro-
ject dealt with more than 1,400 rolls of architectural plans. The
material was assessed roll by roll for intellectual content, support,
media, size, and condition. Other steps stabilized the material in tem-
porary storage bags and created a microcomputer program to handle
data. This project further enhanced the Library's remarkable holdings
of architectural drawings. According to the entry in the MacMillan
Encyclopedia of Architecture, Peabody and Stearns "was recognized
as the most important architectural office in Boston from the death
Detail of the U.S. Custom House tower from a Peabody &. Stearns
of H.H. Richardson in 1886 until World War I." Their architects were
described as "virtually a dynasty... leaders of the profession." The Fine
Arts Department also continued to organize the unique archives of
the Connick Associates, renowned for stained glass.
Several major purchases added important research dimensions to
the Research Library. Among them: nearly 2,000 Italian opera costume
designs; several Irish items including pamphlets from Northern
Ireland, microforms of Irish radical newspapers, Irish literature and
poetry published during the last century, works by and about poet
Seamus Heaney,- several Russian collections including a cultural
resources collection which provides, in English, descriptions of
cultural resources available in many cities of the Soviet Union, and
a collection of Soviet music and theatre. This year special emphasis
was placed on foreign language materials, especially such oriental
languages as Vietnamese, Thai, and Cambodian.
Staff was involved in selection of major purchases and held dialogues
with publishers' representatives. 7\n expedited procedure was
developed for inspection of certain foreign and English language books
before processing. Progress was achieved for an accelerated handling
of all materials for the central library and branches by the determina-
tion of priorities in processing the full range of acquisitions — from
best sellers to children's books and foreign language titles.
Community Library Services
This year was marked by forward motion, continuing the goals set
forth in the plan to revitalize the Library. It was a time of needs
analysis, planning, and action. Attention was directed to collections,
services, plans, and staffing, application for grant support, coopera-
tion with outside agencies, literacy, and shared efforts with Friends.
Benchmark accomplishments of FY88 included intensified efforts
to recruit candidates for long-term children's librarian vacancies at
Egleston Square, Washington Village, and Uphams Comer, and the
branch librarian's position at Egleston Square; restoration and filling
of the branch librarian position at Uphams Corner; reopening of Con-
nolly and Parker Hill for Saturday service; elimination of meal-hour
closings at Uphams Corner; official opening of the Access Center; bar-
coding of more than half of General Library books; new air condition-
ing in ten branches; completion of major capital improvements at Con-
nolly Branch; starting of the first phase of major improvements and
repairs for Hyde Park; and completion of final planning stages for
capital improvements in 17 branches.
Facade of the Connolly Branch Library, restored inside and out.
By the end of the year, improved staffing and expanded service hours
began to yield corresponding increases in library use: a 6 percent in-
crease in circulation, a 22 percent increase in the number of programs
offered, a 14 percent increase in program attendance, and a 3 percent
increase in in-house use of library materials.
This year saw the introduction of the McNaughton Book Leasing
Program. For adults who follow the current book review with em-
phasis on best sellers, the plan virtually eliminated the endless reserve
lists for popular titles. Branches and General Library repeatedly
described the impact on library use. Connolly Branch reported: "The
McNaughton Book Leasing Program vastly improved our ability to
obtain new best-sellers fast for our patrons. The news has spread and
we are now seeing our regular patrons more often and they have told
their friends. We hope to see this trend continue as we renew the plan
for the next year."
Through grants and regular funding, foreign language and literacy
collections were considerably expanded. Brighton Branch increased
its book deposits in Russian and subscribed to a newspaper for its Rus-
sian commimity. General Library added Thai and Khmer to its foreign
language collection which also offers Hmong, Lao, and Cape Verdean
Creole in addition to works in French, German, Spanish, and other
more commonly published languages.
Throughout the Library, wherever there are identifiable people
speaking other tongues as their first languages, the Library has but-
tressed its resources for that group; Faneuil noted an increase in Viet-
namese children; Codman Square keyed its activities toward Blacks,
Hispanics, Haitians, and West Indians; Connolly, Dudley, and other
branches responded to patron concerns over the effects of the Immigra-
tion Control Act with speakers and pamphlets; Adams Street noted
a stable population of Irish heritage and built a successful National
Endowment for the Humanities series around it.
Sharing center stage with the targeting of language/cultural diver-
sity was the Library's attention to the literacy needs of users, or non-
users. With an estimated 100,000 Bostonians impeded in the
workplace and their personal lives by functional illiteracy, the Library
directed vigorous efforts this year to teen and adult learners. A Library
Literacy Committee spearheaded an investigation of such learners as
well as sources of materials and possible funding. To buttress their
readiness to deal with literacy, staff attended several workshops and
conferences, gaining exposure to traditional and innovative approaches
to reaching adult learners through varied formats including songs,
chants, and poems.
Several branch and central projects focused on the needs of adult
learners. Jamaica Plain offered visits and library tours for a small group
taking English as a Second language instruction at the Adult Learn-
ing Program, Jamaica Plain Community School. Codman Square col-
laborated with Odwin Learning Center, which teaches medically-
oriented courses to recent immigrants in preparation for positions as
medical technicians or aides. Dudley Branch is establishing a literacy
center on its second floor.
In a "Library Collaboration for Literacy" Grant project funded by
the Board of Library Commissioners, Parker Hill and Brighton Bran-
ches joined forces with the Family Learning Center at Boston Univer-
sity. The project is utilizing microcomputers to support adult learn-
ing, has created videotapes on children's reading; and will publish in
the near future a book of original writings by adult learners. Other
funded literacy projects are listed under Gifts and Grants.
Young Adult Services
Imagination and innovation marked the Library's activities for teen-
agers. The Young Adult Department offered its annual summer
workshop in creative writing with author Ellen Emerson White
critiquing young people's original writings. The department intro-
duced "Sneak Previews," in which teens read new books before they
are added to the collection. The Young Adult Department also spon-
sored a major exhibit in the General Library lobby, "Teens as Com-
munity Resources," comprising photographs of Boston young people
involved in community projects, a graphic demonstration that in-
dividuals can make a positive impact on society.
In other programs targeting teens, Parker Hill called on Ted Thomas,
Director of Youth Services, City Mission Society, to conduct a poetry
workshop. The branch also hosted Larry Johnson, sports cartoonist
for the Boston Globe, and a drug enforcement agent of the Depart-
ment of Justice who described how a "drug bust" is planned and ex-
ecuted. Brighton offered courses to teens in library instruction; Jamaica
Plain presented a staff member from Teen Line, who described that
hot line for teenagers. Branches also scheduled film series for young
adults — from horror films to teen themes.
In an important literacy initiative, the Young Adult Department
of General Library pursued a teens as tutors project which included
acquisition of materials and training of tutors from Copley High
School under a grant from "Teens as Community Resources."
A dynamic range of programs was featured throughout the Library
system in reaching out and bringing in young people. The activities
fostered creativity, action, involvement, observation, and — of
course — reading. Children's librarians reached children in a multi-
directional approach — in school classrooms, in parks and playgrounds,
and within the library.
In a sampling of the activities which compelled the attention and
delight of young people, children at Adams Street played BOOK
BINGO; Charlestown sponsored Creative Drama during the summer,-
Brighton held After School Stories and Films; Egleston, Faneuil, Fields
Comer, and Jamaica Plain held Toddlers Story Times; Hyde Park held
an all-day Trick or Treat; Lower Mills and North End sponsored Pup-
pet Shows; Codman Square and Fields Corner held animal programs
featuring guests (human and animal) from the MDC Traveling Zoo
and Franklin Park; Egleston Square featured thematic Pirates Day and
Detectives Day, also a Teddy Bear Picnic; North End held Story Hours
for Mothers and Toddlers, and West Roxbury conducted Pajama Story
Hours. Book-related craft programs were frequent: kitemaking and
Discovering the world of books.
collage design and mask construction at Egleston; origami at Con-
nolly, Native American crafts at Faneuil, and Monster Masks at Cod-
man Square. All this indicates that much imagination is operative
in reaching young ones, aided by lively marketing language!
Four branches (Charlestown, Dudley, Fields Comer, and South End)
continued the Reading Is Fundamental program under the sponsor-
ship of H.P. Hood Company, Digital Equipment, Fidelity Investments,
and B. Dalton Booksellers respectively. In the nationwide series,
children are encouraged to have fun reading and to choose books for
their own personal libraries.
For many years the Library has offered service to disabled patrons in
various ways: book deposits to nursing homes and hospitals, a branch
within City Hospital, provision of large-print collections, and readers
advisory service to patrons with special needs. This year saw the first
targeting of the needs of the disabled by allocation of funding, staff,
space, collections, programming, and technology. On October 7, 1987,
the Access Center for Disabled People opened on the Concourse level
of the General Library under the direction of Kathleen Hegarty, Staff
Officer for Special Programs and Services.
Focusing initially on the blind and visually impaired, the deaf and
hearing impaired, and those with physical disabilities, the center will
expand its services to others with special needs in the near future.
The center has been funded by three grants under the Library Ser-
vices and Construction Act Title I, administered through the
Massachusestts Board of Library Commissioners.
The Access Center offers a collection of more than 9,000 titles in
large print and a thousand talking books on disks and cassettes. Special
technology offers visually impaired patrons the capability of transfor-
ming library resources into a format they can use. The staff of the
center works in close contact with community specialists in service
to the disabled and attends relevant seminars and conferences.
Development of programs has accelerated this year since the October
opening. Among the programs offered: "Black Deaf Heritage," "Deaf
Culture in Japan," and "Signed Stories by Deaf Story Tellers." Hearing-
impaired children learned how puppets are made through a demonstra-
tion by puppeteer Claire DiMeo and enjoyed a sign-interpreted per-
formance of "Puss in Boots."
Mayor Flynn cuts the ribbon for the formal opening of the Access Center
for Disabled People. From left are Library Director Arthur Curley;
Michael Scully, father of the late Susan Scully, who served on the Boston
Commission on the Affairs of the Handicapped; Mayor Flynn; Charles
Sabatier, Executive Director of the Boston Commission for Persons with
Disabilities; Kevin Moloney, President of the Library's Board of Trustees;
the late Pete Cernada, East Boston community activist; and interpreter
Programs and Exhibitions
The Library made an impressive impact this year in exploring ideas
and events through dynamic programming and exhibitions. Major at-
tention was accorded the Bicentennial of the U.S. Constitution
throughout the Library with exhibitions and programs directed to
patrons from children to scholars. The Rare Book Department offered
a foreign approach to the great American document with presenta-
tions by consuls general from France, the Netherlands, Canada, and
Mexico. Other programs called upon local political figures and
educators to deal with various aspects of constitutional history and
rights of political bodies, victims, and women. Two plays on the Con-
stitution were offered at West Roxbury Branch by sixth graders of St.
Themes of programs and exhibitions in branches and the central
library were as broad as the Library's book collections. Current issues
and concerns — immigration, drug use, financial planning, health crises
including AIDS — were highlighted again and again. Yet time-honored
cultural experiences were not neglected. Both in the Research Library's
specialized departments and in branches, music and art were
remembered. South Boston and Brighton Branches held their annual
art shows; Jamaica Plain conducted several artist-centered programs;
Parker Hill held a workshop in Black Music; Lower Mills offered
"Silent Destiny; A Musical History of Women Composers"; Dudley
Branch featured presentations by artists Curtis Corbin and James
Reuben Reed; Parker Hill displayed the works of Dianne Zimbabwe
and Theodore Harris; Hyde Park exhibited paintings by the Hyde Park
Municipal Building Art Class — the list is a compelling tribute to
creativity in the community and in the Library.
Opening of "Drawings from Boston" exhibition: artist Henry Schwartz
with Keeper of Prints Sinclair Hitchings.
In General Library, too, attention to exhibitions was lively and
disparate. Among the exhibitions: "Along the El, Contemporary
Photos of MBTA's Elevated Orange Line and Washington Street Cor-
ridor"; "Vaults of Memory: Jev^ish and Christian Imagery in the
Catacombs of Rome"; "Save Life on Earth"; and "My Mommy Drives
Throughout the year the Research Library opened its treasures and
special collections to public view. Among the exhibitions sponsored
by the Print Department were a retrospective of works on paper by
Nina Bohleu; a historic view of Copley Square; watercolors by
Varujan Boghosian from the collections of John D. Merriam; the art
of Boston's distinguished Black artist Allan Rohan CritC; pastels and
charcoal drawings by William Shattuck; and a remarkable gathering
of works by Boston artists titled "A Salute to Boston." Among its ex-
hibits the Rare Book and Manuscript Department offered a major
showing of illuminated manuscripts, "Treasures at the BPL," and
"Nathaniel Bowditch, 1773-1830" in remembrance of the pioneering
American scientist. In other displays, the Research Library showed
"Man's Best Friends," "Blacks in American History," "Women in
Science," "Russian Musical Nights," "Happy 50th Tanglewood," and
"Caldecott Medal Books."
This year the Research Library considerably increased program
outreach activity. Among the major programs: the Music Department
cooperated with the Finzi Society of America and the Boston Con-
cert Opera in arranging lectures. The department also sponsored con-
certs by the Huntington Chamber Orchestra and cellist Luis Leguia-
The Science Reference Department participated actively for some 76
hours at the Inventors Weekend, a notable opportunity to distribute
flyers and discuss conducting a patent search. A Women in Science
program featuring Dr. Martha Thomas proved to be a worthy program
prototype but needed a greater publicity effort to attract attendance.
The Fine Arts Department joined the Society of Architectural
Historians/New England in sponsoring a lecture by Robert A.M. Stem,
"Architecture: History and Public Policy."
The Rare Book and Manuscripts Department reflected its signifi-
cant holdings in several programs. Inviting much public attention and
pleasure were a program, reception, and exhibition on the comedian
Fred Allen, featuring Boston Globe columnist Robert Taylor, author
of a biography of Boston's renowned cerebral radio wit. The annual
Dwiggins Lecture, co-sponsored with the Society of Printers, was
delivered by Dietmar R. Winkler. Other lectures featured Quebecois
writer Jean Caron, the Browning Society, and four consuls general
from Mexico, Canada, the Netherlands, and France on the impact of
the U.S. Constitution on their nations. In addition to several im-
pressive exhibitions and receptions honoring artists and collectors,
the Print Department presented the annual Wiggin Symposium,
"Three Worlds of Art." Repeatedly authors brought thier messages
to Library stages, among them: Jeremy Bemstein, Justin Kaplan, Julius
As program center, the Library brings delight and information to
thousands of patrons.
Lester, Jonathan Kozol, Annie Dillard, Arthur Miller, Rumer God-
den, and Kurt Vonnegut.
Many programs and activities including discussion groups and
parents series were repeated as regular, ongoing activities. Fourteen
branches conducted periodic adult book discussions. The General
Library inaugurated the "America Lives" book series w^hich attracted
a diverse audience for v^eekly afternoon and evening sessions of
spirited analysis of novels v^hich illustrate the American experience.
General Library also sponsored a popular series titled Brown Bag
Seminars which offered lectures on such current concerns as interac-
tion in the workplace among customers, employers, and others,- con-
flict resolution; retirement planning; and reading the financial pages.
The popular Never-Too-Late series, geared to patrons over 60,
prospered in Central and five branches.
Probably the most frequent component of programming was the
film, presented in a wide range of formats — by theme, actor, form
(animation, documentary), national origin, award winners. The
Library's feature film series, "Gary Grant: the Paramont Years," was
awarded the 1987 Best Film Series Award by the Boston Society of
Ethnic-centered programs and exhibits continued to focus on the
rich heritage of the city's plural populations. The armual February
observance of Black History Month included lectures by Dr. Antonio
F. Holland of Lincoln University, Jefferson City, Missouri; C. Vin-
cent Haynes, jazz historian; and James Reuben Reed, artist. Nor-
theastern University. Other Black history observances included story
hours, craft demonstrations, slide and dramatic presentations. Among
other ethnic observances: Bernard Wax, Director of the American
Jewish Historical Society, lectured at Brighton Branch on Jewish com-
munity history from 1649 to the present; Parker Hill co-sponsored
an exhibit with the Puerto Rican Festival of Boston of 12 masks made
in Puerto Rico; the Central Library children's room conducted bi-
lingual story hours in English and Chinese as well as programs on
writing Chinese, using chopsticks, and constructing Russian-style
disappearing paper boxes; at Charlestown Branch a former journalist
for Latvian ex-patriot newspapers loaned his collection of newspapers
Significant in the 6,945 programs held in the Library this year was
the cooperative support from local educational/cultural/business/
government agencies and organizations. The Library provided staff,
programming, and exhibit space in addition to bibliographical sup-
port; the "outside" agencies offered the expertise and talents of lec-
turers and performers. To name a few of the legion of cooperative
groups: Massachusetts Historical Society, Harvard Bookstore Cafe,
American Cancer Society, National Park Service, Boston Red Sox,
Gallaudet University, Family Services of Greater Boston, Lowell In-
stitute, The Finzi Society, Shearson Lehman Brothers, Visiting Nurse
Association of Boston, and several colleges and universities.
Demonstrating the importance and impact of joint programming
in the Library and community was the program offered by Associated
Grantmakers of Massachusetts. Titled "Meet the Donor," the series
brought together representatives of funding agencies for panel discus-
sions in six branches.
Emphasis on programs in this report has been somewhat lengthy —
and for good reason. The program component of the Library's outreach
exemplifies the vitality, the energy of the staff who does the plan-
ning and the community members who take part. Several years ago
when the Library accepted the mantle from the National Endowment
for the Humanities as a "learning library," it described itself as a true
people's univeristy, a place where citizens expand their knowledge,
a place of ideas in ferment. In FY88 the learning library continued
its role as a free university with a welcome mat at the threshold.
National Endowment for the Humanities
In continuance of the dynamic educational series supported by NEH,
the Library sponsored several lectureships in branches this year.
Designed to provide college-level courses without the admission/finan-
cial requisites of college, the NEH programs were eclectic and pro-
vocative. Evaluations of the courses point out that for the most part
the meetings did not fill the halls but reached thoughtful adults com-
mitted to expanding their knowledge and ideas. The lectures listed
here reflect the contributions of experts from local colleges and
"Inventing Ireland and Other Memories of the Future."
Padraig O'Malley, University of Massachusetts Boston.
(Adams Street and West Roxbury)
"Women in American Films." Robert G. Goulet, Stone-
hill College. (Brighton)
"Playing Games: A History of Sports in Boston." John
Powers, Boston Globe. (East Boston)
"New England Women Writers." Deborah Rosenthal,
Massasoit Community College. (Fields Corner)
"Charlestown: The Making of an Urban Village." Thomas
N. Brown, University of Massachusetts. (Charlestown)
"Art and Commitment; the Black Literary Tradition from
Native Son to The Color Purple." Joyce Mobley Corrigan,
lecturer on literature and drama. (Dudley)
"At Home in America," Myrna Kaye, Museum of Fine Arts,
"Artists of the Harlem Renaissance, the Gift of Black Folk."
James Reuben Reed, Northeastern University. (Parker Hill)
"Moral Dilemmas in Modern Medicine," Dr. Michael
Grodin, Boston University Schools of Medicine and Public
"A Salute to South Boston's Ethnic Communities." Five
South Boston speakers: Rev. Arthur Lioliu; Algirdas
Budreckis; Prof. Thomas H. O'Connor, Boston College;
performance by Krakowiak, Polish Folk Singers of Boston.
"The Wayward Stroke," lectures on Post Impressionism.
Aileen Callahan, Boston College and Regis College.
"Five Court Trials in the History of Boston." Alan Rogers,
Boston College. (West End)
"By the People, For the People, Folk Art in America."
Gilian Wohlauer, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.
Since its beginnings the Boston Public Library has served as a
publishing house, developing and printing booklists, catalogs, and
books. This year the Library published several specialized departmen-
tal items describing collections or services. Highlighting the Library's
international juvenile collections and programs, the staffs of the
General Library Children's Department and the Alice M. Jordan Col-
lection created "The Whole World in Their Hands: An Idea Checklist
for Librarians Serving Youth."
Publications on Black Americans — and Bostonians — received par-
ticular attention this year. "Spin a Soft Black Song" was built aroimd
young people's books. "Black Is..." a popular, handsomely designed
annual list of current adult fiction and nonfiction with Black themes
went to press once again in time for Black History Month observances.
Mindful of the constant demand for activities with emphasis on the
19th-century German illustration from Richter-Album as it appeared
in "The Whole World in Their Hands."
Black experience, General Library this year put together "Black
America: A Program Resource Guide."
The Library's major release of the year resulted from the creative
efforts of 27 poets, members of the Poetry Club of Dudley Branch
Library headed up by Adults Librarian Olive Knight. Designed by Rick
Zonghi, head of Graphic Arts, with an introduction by Luix V. Overbea
of The Christian Science Monitor, Poets on the Horizon contains
original verse on a remarkable range of themes, emotions, and poetic
styles — from "Street Life" to "Old Comb" to "The Aging Process"
and "Vintage Wino." The book promises to be the catapult for many
events and possibly other publications to come. Already special pro-
grams and receptions as well as readings by the poets themselves have
In the annual compilation of current books which is distributed
to Women's Club chapters throughout the state, the staff of General
Library once again produced a thematic booklist, "Booking Around,"
for the Massachusetts Federation of Women's Clubs.
For many years the Library published a widely distributed BPL
News. In the period since its discontinuance, the need for a newslet-
ter has been reinforced by the development campaign. As a result,
this year the Library launched The Boston Pubhc Library Newslet-
ter, Summer 1988, an elegant, two-fold illustrated vehicle "to pro-
vide readers with the latest information about activities throughout
the library system."
The Library continued its technological applications to systems and
services this year. The Metro-Boston Library Network (MBLN), an
automated circulation/on-line catalog system linking the Boston,
Brookline, Cambridge, Chelsea, Maiden, and Newton Public Libraries,
entered into a contract with Data Research Associates (DRA). In the
year ahead the automation will proceed in phases: first circulation,
then public access catalog. Once implemented, the new computer
system will enable the Library to examine circulation and renewal
policies to make them more sensitive to the public's needs.
Appropriate wiring for installation of multiplexers and modems for
the system commenced throughtout the branches. In preparation for
barcoding books for the system, branch staff concentrated on
"weeding," pulling from the collections materials worn or outdated.
By the end of FY88 the General Library announced that more than
400,000 items had been barcoded. This year also saw the beginning
use of telefacsimile machines in a few branches and offices. The In-
terlibrary Loan Department received a state grant to fund a telefac-
simile network in the Boston subregion which provided for acquir-
ing 14 FAX machines for the Boston subregion and two for Boston
Public Library branches. The goal of the project is to increase ac-
cessibility to Boston's vast serials collections for patrons in the
suburbs. Through its FAX machine, Kirstein Business Branch will
make possible the transmission of business journal articles to libraries
of the Eastern Region.
Several other Library units have expanded their services through
state-of-the-art tools and machines. Since its opening in October 1987
the Access Center has put into action several devices effective in
aiding the visually/hearing impaired. Use of the Research Library's
vast microfilm holdings was facilitated this year by the purchase of
an opaque microfilm enlarger/printer.
The Government Documents Department received a major
bibliographic reference tool, a CD ROM (compact disk, read only
memory) U.S. Government Publication Catalog, by which the public
can view on a monitor data related to government publications since
1976 (updated monthly). A laser jet printer, also acquired this year,
makes it possible for public and staff to print out the data they have
rapidly retrieved on the CD ROM.
A young expert in information retrieval.
As one of ten libraries in the nation to participate in an experimental
trial of CASSIS (Classification and Support Information System), a
CD ROM system developed by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Of-
fice, the Library's Science Reference Department this year received
from that office a personal computer, printer, and CD reader. For six
months the department studied and summarized patron reaction to
the system. The results v^^ere significant: "skyrocketing use of
patents," lines of students waiting to use CASSIS.
Computer database searches in the Science Reference Department
continued in great volume and quality, a total of 2,756 searches. The
databases searched are broad with the heaviest use among trademark
and medical data.
By the conclusion of FY88 six Research Library Departments were
performing data searches and CD ROM products were in three
Building needs of branches and the central library gained considerable
attention this year in terms of both planning and execution. The
Buildings Department responded to the pressing needs of plants and
grounds in painting and plastering, replacement of broken glass, roof
repair, carpet cleaning, furniture refinishing, fence repair, ground
maintenance, and removal of graffiti. In response to the fire at West
Roxbury Branch, the staff of Buildings joined the Public Facilities
Department in restoring the damaged basement and first floor levels.
Numerous capital improvments under the management of the
Public Facilities Department were in phases ranging from planning,
design development, or bidding. They included installation of security
systems, building secure storage rooms and ramps for handicap ac-
cess, roof repairs, and heating and electrical repairs. A major project
was the restoration of the Connolly Branch Library as part of
"Rebuilding Boston," Mayor Flynn's five-year capital improvement
plan, prepared by the Office of Capital Planning. A special celebra-
tion for the "new look" of the branch is scheduled for the fall.
Another building event was the ground-breaking ceremony on
March 26 for the addition to the West Roxbury Branch. Enthusiastical-
ly attended by city and Library officials and community residents,
the event promised an addition with expanded space for seating and
collections, a special separate area for teenagers, handicap access, and
appropriate enhancement and adaptation of the present building to
This year the Library embarked on a historic, innovative special
service which impacts positively on the community and the Library.
Developed by the Honorable Julian T. Houston of the Roxbury District
Court and Angela Ferrario of Associated Day Care Services, w^ith ar-
chitectural and financial support committed by the Public Facilities
Department, the plan will utilize adapted second-floor space at Dudley
Branch Library for drop-in child care for individuals conducting court
The restoration of the Research Library was the centerpiece in the
year's attention to buildings. Designed by architect Charles FoUen
McKim, the structure in recent years has been identified as the McKim
building, with its adjunct structure by architect Philip Johnson
called the Johnson building. Hailed as one of America's most beautiful
buildings, a "palace for the people," the McKim building took some
17 years to build. In the 93 years since its opening in 1895, the Library
has undergone many adaptations of interior spaces to the needs of
library functions — and few modernizations. Increasingly antiquated
systems and damage by leaks, dust, and pollutants have exacted their
The Trustees recognized the pressing mandate for renovation and
moved into action to restore and renovate the people's palace. Awar-
ding the contract to the firm of Shepley, Bulfinch, Richardson and
Abbott, Inc. in 1985, the Trustees saw the restoration as a five-year
project proceeding in three phases:
Phase I: restoration of entrance hall, grand staircase, Chavannes
Gallery, and Venetian and Pompeiian lobbys; relocation of
Government Documents Department on basement level along
with restrooms and major mechanical/plumbing work; new
staircase leading from beneath the grand stair to the basement.
On the ground floor — north side — a bookstore, information
center, spacious exhibition/lecture areas, and possibly a tearoom.
Design development drawings for Phase I were completed in
FY88, followed by substantial attention to working drawings.
Phase II: the junction between the McKim and Johnson buildings
will include a key new connecting stairway and revised elevator.
The Microtext Department will be relocated directly off the
ground floor stairway, and the Newspaper Room will be
renovated. On the second floor, the Abbey Room will be con-
verted to a reading room. New centers for photoduplication and
periodicalA^ibliographic reference will be created with the Elliott
Room and the catalog modified to an electronic facility.
The elegant lamp above the grand staircase in the McKim building gets
Phase ni: will complement north side exhibition area on south
side, restore and enhance the courtyard; continue restoration
of Bates Hall and the Abbey Room; create new office space; and
on the third floor, expand the space for the Library's special col-
lections, Music, Fine Arts, and Prints.
Serving as project designer for the McKim restoration is Daniel
Coolidge. In his presentation of design development plans to the
Trustees, Coolidge noted two paramount design themes which he
followed in his "respect for the ghost of McKim": respect for the past
and retention of the flexibility of use.
Down the years the city of Boston has provided funding for
maintenance and capital projects such as the McKim restoration in
budget allocations and loan orders. A major infusion of funding for
the Boston Public Library — and public libraries across the
commonwealth — took place this year. Senate President William M.
Bulger, who serves as Vice President of the Trustees, introduced the
Public Library Improvement Act which will direct $45 million in state
funds to the support of local and regional public libraries. Commended
by library organizations for his commitment and action, Bulger
described the legislation as a means to "help us preserve, foster, and
expand the Commonwealth's free pubhc library system for years and
generations to come."
The Campaign for the Library
On October 18, 1986 the Library embarked on a major private sector
fundraising effort for the restoration of the McKim building. Other
goals include revitalizing the community library system, strengthen-
ing Research Library resources, and utilizing new technologies
hitensive planning for the fundraising effort is taking place under
the direction of Tess Cederholm, Development Officer. A handsome
case statement for the campaign was completed this year. Entitled
"Campaign for the Library," the booklet will be used as a tool for
soliciting contributions from chief executive officers of corporations.
Development activities are being guided professionally by the
Robert J. Corcoran Company. Also under contract for The Campaign
is Jonathan L. Barkan of Communications for Learning for the design
and production of graphics and audiovisual materials. In the produc-
tion stage for campaign use are a brochure and an A-V cassette featur-
ing prominent individuals describing the influence and services of the
To date the central work of the campaign has been a preparatory,
behind-the-scenes operation: research of data on possible donors and
the creation of files, historic and contemporary, of key people with
ties to the Library. A campaign leadership committee, a citizen group
of about 10 people, will soon be named.
Especially propitious for fundraising is the fact that FY88 has already
yielded many contributions even though there has yet to be an of-
ficial start of The Campaign for the Library with leaders and publica-
tions and databases in place. Last year's significant pledge of
$1,000,000 from the Boston Globe Foundation obviously provided the
inspiration and support for the Library's historic strong step toward
the next century.
Gifts and Grants
In addition to the splendid gift from the Globe Foundation, other gifts
in monies and materials were extensive in FY88 — from private citizens
as well as the government, corporations, and foundations. Thanks to
such support, the Library was empowered to move beyond budgeted
acquisitions, services, and projects. Here enumerated are the most
major gifts and grants. Virtually hundreds of other donations, impor-
tant to the Library's total work, have been gratefully acknowledged
and recorded in departmental reports.
Dorothy Abbe (for cataloging Dwiggins collections) $ 70,000.00
The Boston Globe Foundation 200,000.00
The Boston Globe 2,500.00
Junior League of Boston 30,000.00
Estate of Herman Loeffler
(for organization of political papers) 20,000.00
Donna and Scott Rybum 7,500.00
Frederick E. Weber Charities 5,000.00
L J. O'Connor with match from John Hancock 1,380.00
Other gifts 5,587.50
Gifts in Kind
Mrs. Merle Shera through the Oregon Art Institute:
136 etchings, drawings, lithographs by American artist Thomas
51 photographs by Bradford Washburn
Duncan MacPherson, political cartoonist of the Toronto Star:
200 pieces of finished art by the donor
Mrs. Margaret Moody:
1,418 musical items including books, pamphlets, reference
works, record albums, souvenir programs, periodicals, etc.
1 1 cartons of art books which belonged to her father, art collec-
tor Samuel Glaser
Stephen Andrus of the former Impressions Workshop:
several thousand prints, business records, library materials,
engraved woodblocks, etched copper plates, ephemera, storage
cabinets, and shelving
restoration of 8 art works valued at $4,050
more than 8,000 photographs which the donor took himself of
Boston streets and neighborhoods
25 copies of her book Flowering Trees and Shrubs valued at $750
Mark Twain bronze by sculptor Bruce Kueffer
8,064 recordings for Sound Archives from several donors
Other gifts (books, serials, pamphlets, manuscripts, puppets) totall-
ing 26,359 items
Boston Arts Lottery for publication of Drawings
for Boston catalog $2,500.00
Board of Library Commissioners for cooperative
Brighton Branch/Parker Hill Branch/Boston
University intergenerational program on
adult literacy $49,537.00
Gateway Cities for acquisition of materials
for ages 3-21 whose primary language is
not English $75,000.00
Commonwealth Literacy Commission: core
collection for adult literacy resource centers $3,000.00
U.S. Department of Education: central collection
of materials for adults in literacy programs $25,000.00
Board of Library Commissioners: computer
equipment software, and personnel
for Access Center $19,830.00
National Endowment for the Humanities for
assessment of preservation needs of 1,000
rolls of Peabody &. Stearns architectural
Fidelity Investments/Digital Equipment/
B. Dalton/ and H.P. Hood grants for Reading
Is Fundamental programs at Fields Corner/
Dudley/Charlestown/ and South End $19,000.00
Teens as Community Resources: for training
of Copley High School students as volun-
teer tutors $4,000.00
18th Century Short Title Project $3,000.00
U.S. Department of Education for preservation
microfilming of newpapers in BPL and other
Grants for Automation
LSCA (Library Services and Construction Act) 382,857.00
Commonwealth 484, 1 89.00
Commonwealth (Telecomm) 107,610.00
Total Automation Grants $2,260,799.00
Friends and Volunteers
Many events of FY88 can be attributed to the various branch-centered
Friends groups as well as the Citywide Friends established last year
and the Associates of the Boston Public Library. These groups directed
their efforts, always in furtherance of Library goals, in many direc-
tions from fundraising to program support and public relations, book
sales and open houses. To cite a few of their efforts:
At Brighton Branch, Friends raised funds with a book sale and
culture auction and funded, in part, the annual Arts Exposition.
CharlestowTi Friends supported programs by psychologist Mary Lou
Randour on women; a cooking demonstration on foolproof biscuit
making; and lectures on Ireland's literary places and Boston Harbor.
In Hyde Park, Friends inaugurated this year an annual Friend of
the Year award, the first honoree Margaret Geraghty.
Lower Mills Friends co-sponsored several programs including
Adventures in Literature with Prof. Robert White of Dartmouth
College; puppet performances for children; and the popular series
Several Friends groups sought and received grants for branch pro-
grams and beautification of grounds, among them: Hyde Park and
Brighton received Boston Arts Lottery grants; Jamaica Plain, Parker
Hill, and Connolly Branches received grants from the Greenspace
Alliance for landscaping.
Volunteers also played a part in advancing the service goals of the
Library, in organization of collections, and public relations. A major
injection of funding for volunteer activity came this year from the
Junior League of Boston to establish a training program for guides and
to assist in special events. A grant in the amount of $30,000 will sup-
port a corps of volunteers in a three-year project. League members
have been researching and developing training materials for the guides
and plan to begin recruitment by this fall.
Among Library departments, both Prints and Fine Arts have
worked effectively with volunteers. In the Print Department,
volunteers researched data on American artist Thomas Handforth and
preserved the Library's holdings of Handforth prints. Interns in the
Print Department worked on the collection of living artists with ties
to Boston and the collection of Joseph Pennell. As Keeper of Prints
Sinclair H. Hitchings noted, "One key to the success of the Boston
Public Library in a changing world is its close ties to Boston-area col-
leges and imiversities." Already noted in this report are the cooperative
programs, including NEH lectureships, achieved by such ties.
In Fine Arts, too, volunteers helped considerably, "plugging away"
in the indexing of artists, craftsmen, and the gift photographs from
Staff members contributed positively to Library objectives of building
collections and expanding services, making automation operational,
increasing their expertise through attendance at seminars and con-
ferences, and accepting professional leadership roles.
Four staff members contributed suggestions to the Boston Works
Smarter Program, and their suggestions received funding for the
benefit of the Library.
Catherine M. Coyne, Children's Librarian at Adams Street Branch,
suggested child-size chairs for pre-school story hours.
Walter E. Newman, paper conservator in the Rare Books and
Manuscript Department recommended the purchase of an
ultrasonic encapsulator which encloses rare fragile manuscripts
and documents in a clear polyester.
Rockymarie Weaver, Children's Library Specialist, proposed a
fiction-finding, game-like system for children to find stories fitting
their age and interest.
Barbara Wicker, Branch Librarian of Hyde Park, advocated the pur-
chase of a typewriter exclusively for public use.
Two Boston Public Library leaders with more than 70 years ser-
vice in their careers were memorialized by the establishment of funds
in their names:
This restored Dennis doll shows actor Joe Jettcrbon in his interpreta-
tion of Rip Van Winkle.
Ruth M. Bleecker, Curator of Music at the time of her death, was
remembered by a fund to augment holdings in the Allen A. Brown
Veronica M. Lehane, a leader in the Library's youth services for
more than 50 years, was remembered in a fund built around one
of her special strengths, storytelling.
Several annual programs also memorialized staff who contributed
years of professional service to the Library.
Thomas Flanagan, author of The Tenants of Time, delivered the
Francis Moloney Lecture.
Paul M. Wright, Senior Fellow at the McCormack Institute of
Public Affairs, lectured on former House Speaker John W. McCor-
mack in the annual Marjorie M. Gibbons Memorial Lecture.
North End Branch marked the fortieth year honoring Mary U.
Nichols with a particularly festive books award program — exhibits,
awards ceremony, a puppet play by North End youngsters, and at-
tendance by members of the Nichols family.
In acknowledgment of her estimable contributions in restoring the
Library's Dennis Doll Collection, friend of the Library June P. Kibbe
was designated by the Trustees as Honorary Curator of Dolls and
Dioramas. In delightful demonstration of Kibbe's skills in restoration,
the Research Library this year exhibited a compelling assemblage of
real and fictional character dolls from the Dennis Doll collection —
from Albert Einstein and Yul Brynner to Alice in Wonderland!
It is appropriate to conclude this annual report on a people's institu-
tion with tributes to everyone who makes the Boston Public Library
a special library: friends, volunteers, staff, patrons, the Trustees who
"do their homework" with remarkable dedication, and city officials
who give proud support to our learning center, our people center!
Director and Librarian
THE BOSTON PUBLIC LIBRARY ANNUAL REPORT FY88
General Book Collections
Rare Books and Manuscripts 1,225,272
Government Documents 2,545,282
Musical Scores 99,486
Current Subscriptions 16,436
Films & Other Projected Visuals 12,812
Pictorial Works 519,326
Program Attendance 207,444
Items Borrowed 1,817,969
Volumes Consulted 984,974
Reference Inquiries 1,135,341
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