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Full text of "Annual report"

THE BOSTON PUBLIC LIBRARY 




"T/je Stoiy Lady" enchants and mesmerizes her audience. 

ANNUAL REPORT 1988-1989 



THE BOSTON PUBLIC LIBRARY 

ANNUAL REPORT 

For the Year Ending June 30, 1989 

With a Summary of the 

Report of the Examining Committee 

1987-1989 



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City Document 15—1988-1989 



Trustees of the Public Library 

of the 

City of Boston 

Kevin F. Moloney, President 

William M. Bulger, Vice President 

Berthe M. Gaines 

Doris Reams Goodwin 

Marianne Rea Luthin 



.\NNLIAL REPORT 1988-1989 

The Boston Public Libran' published a remarkable little book this year, the 
original writings of adult learners exploring their pasts, their psyches, and 
their new power with words. The work is titled it's never easy. In one proudly 
constructed essay. Maggie sums up how she adds to her knowledge: "Learning 
any skill means I have to listen hard. I have to take my time and I have to 
follow each step carefully." 

Maggie's message describes aptly the path followed by the Library 
administration and staff in FY89. We had to listen hard to the community and 
to legislators — to all the people affecting or affected by the Librar^^ We had to 
move in measured step, taking thoughtful, probing time to deal with a fiscal 
crisis. And through analysis and planning, we proceeded toward resolution of 
problems, step by step. 

With its marked ups and down's, this year was never easy: but in its 
totality the year added a milestone to Boston Public Librar>' histor>' as we 
neared the end of a decade. A local publication paid tribute to our institution 
with the following citation: "Boston Magazine is pleased to honor the Boston 
Public Librar>' as Best Revamped Local Resource in recognition of Quality and 
Excellence. Best of Boston. 1988." In the following report we shall pursue 
those steps of revamping and follow our route toward quality and excellence. 

A WORLD-CLASSAVORLD-CONSCIOUS LIBR.\RY 

Sometimes in expressing our pride in the Librar>''s collections and 
performance, we describe the Boston Public Libran.' as a "world-class 
institution." We speak in the context of an institution, which reaches beyond 
provincial bounds, which is sought by patrons throughout the United States 
and abroad, which ranks with the nation's leading university research 
facilities. We see the Boston Public Library' as a resource of important books, 
serials, manuscripts, but — more than that — as a generator, a primary' source of 
research and information for books published and books yet to come. 

Such a world-class status was demonstrated repeatedly this past year. 
Among the visitors who sought out the Library to conduct research, to tour, to 
meet with staff, and to discuss the Boston Public Library' as it related to their 
own institutions were the following: a community librarian from Auckland. 
New Zealand, here for a study tour; a member of the Council for Cultural 
Planning and Development from Taiwan; the deputy director of the State 
Library of Victoria. Australia; the commission president of the San Francisco 
Public Library to discuss his city's plans to build a new main library and to 
restore branch facilities; visitors from \'enezuela to view equipment for the 
sensory-disabled in the Access Center; an educator from the Canberra College 
of Higher Education in Canberra. Australia, to observe materials and services 
for children; 15 visitors from Japan, including both professional and amateur 



binders; guests from the State University Libran' in Denmark; two librarians 
from Finland with particular interest in our Rare Books and Manuscripts 
Department; and two library' student interns from Wales. 

Probably the most vivid measure of a libran^'s performance as a 
research center is its use by scholars and the publications emanatinj^ from 
such use. This past year tallied a remarkable number of works published or 
works in progress represented by both permissions requests and 
acknowledgments of the Library^ staff and materials. Evidences of such use 
included a request for transparencies for a catalog from The Rijksmuseum, 
The Netherlands; from a Japanese scholar to quote letters of Emily Dickinson; 
from the University of Buckingham, England, to quote the letters of Harriet 
Martineau; from an Italian scholar desirous of citing passages from Mrs. 
Radcliffe's manuscript. Dozens of other scholars and writers from colleges and 
universities throughout the United States, from the National Museum of 
American History of the Smithsonian Institution, and other museums and 
foundations called upon the Librar\''s rich resources. 

Acknowledgments of the aid provided by Library staff and materials 
were as numerous as the attributions cited above. Publication credits to the 
Boston Public Library appeared in a bulletin by Dr. \'. G. Marshall on the 
North End molasses disaster, published by the Institution of Chemical 
Engineers in Rugby, England; Hendrik Edelman's The Dutch Language Press 
in America, published by DeGraaf in The Netherlands: Stephen Tabor's Sylvia 
Plath: An Analytical Bibliography, published by Mansell in London; and many 
other works released by popular and university presses here and abroad. All 
this is testament to the Library as a world-class center of scholarship. 

Throughout the branches and central library, countries and cultures 
were focal points of exhibitions, lectures, programs, and publications. Among 
the major exhibitions were several particularly strong representations of 
people in remote parts of the globe. From South America came the substance 
of an exhibit developed under a grant from the New England Foundation for 
the Arts. "Scraps of Life: Chilean Arpilleras.'^ Featured were 40 arpilleras. 
colorfully embroidered and appliqued tapestries from Chile that depict life 
under the Pinochet regime. An anguished, moving portrait of people abroad 
was the exhibit "Images of Vietnam and Its People," photographs of the 
desperate lives of Vietnamese refugees in camps in Hong Kong. 

Focusing on the mid-East were two exhibitions: "Msions of 
•Jerusalem" by Israeli and Boston artists; and "Photographs of .lordan," views 
of the ancient city of Petra. A far less sanguine exhibit with international 
implications was "The .Judgment of Adolf Eichmann: Evil, the Media and 
Society," which brought together mural photographs showing the trial of Adolf 
Eichmann. 



The most extensive international exhibition assembled 1,000 current 
books from the Soviet Union. Titled "The USSR: Perestroika and Glastnost," 
the display represented an exchange sponsored by the USIA (U.S. Information 
Agency) and Goskomizdat, the Soviet State Committee for Publishing and 
Printing. Six bilingual guides came from the Soviet Union to interpret the 
exhibition for visitors. Simultaneously with this exhibit that traveled on to 
Washington. D.G. and Los Angeles, an American collection titled "Many- 
Booked America" was exhibited in Novosibirsk, Minsk, and Tiblisi in the 
Soviet Union. The USIA noted that it was hoped that the "book-oriented 
initiative will play an increasingly important role in promoting mutual 
understanding and good will." 

Children's books were an international ingredient in still another 
Soviet-centered program. In "Glasnost Comes to Children's Literature," 
author/illustrator Frank Asch and XHadimir Vagin described their across-the- 
sea collaboration on Here Comes the Cat, published by Scholastic Books. 

Another ocean-spanning view of children's books in the Boston Public 
Library brought Boston and the Emerald Isle in jump-rope proximity. The staff 
of the Alice M. Jordan Collection created an exhibit, "Turas go Tir na nOg" 
(Journey to the Land of Youth), which included more than 100 children's 
publications in the Irish language. The Library and Kenny Bookshops and Art 
Galleries Ltd. of Galway joined together to handle publicity and a selected 
bibliography. As a result, Kenny was interviewed on National Irish Language 
Radio, and the Boston Public Library received phone and mail requests from 
Ireland for the booklist. 

Again and again lecturers this year came from abroad or turned their 
attention to international themes. Bostonians heard Chilean poet Marjorie 
Agosin and translator Cola Franzen read from their new book Zones of Pain, 
Las Zonas del Dolor. Professors Beatriz Manz and Lois Wasserspring of 
Wellesley College presented a slide/talk, "Voices of Latin American Women." 
Young people with global roots presented a compelling view of their 
experiences in a program honoring Martin Luther King, Jr. All survivors of 
conflict, they came from Cambodia, Haiti, Ireland, South Africa, and the U.S. 
drug wars, speaking as "Children of War" to the youth of Boston. 

AVhen Boston served as conference center for the Faith and Order 
Commission of the World Council of Churches, the Library sponsored a 
reception in the Cheverus Room, exhibiting for the event many ecumenical 
materials donated to the Library by Dr. Robert Nelson. 

Our pride in the strength of the Library for world-class research was 
reinforced this year by a study by the Boston Library Consortium, a 
cooperative network of major research libraries, which analyzed machine- 
readable records for 1981-1985 monographs catalogued by member libraries. 



In most of 23 broad subject divisions the Boston Public Library held the 
highest number of items as well as the highest number of unique titles (those 
not owned by any other member library). 

One last example shows again the Library's participation on the world 
stage, even as it calls attention to the power of the book and the monstrosity 
of censorship. Salman Rushdie, author of The Satanic Verses, was scheduled 
to begin a U.S. book tour at the Boston Public Library during the week of 
February 20. Just a few days in advance of his BPL talk. Ayatollah Khomeini 
placed a million-dollar bounty on the author's head for his alleged defamation 
of Islam, and Rushdie's book was pulled from many booksellers' shelves and 
his tour canceled. Library Director Arthur Gurley described the treatment of 
Rushdie as a "threat to the fundamental freedom of expression upon which 
libraries are based." 

RESEARCH LIBRARY SERVICES 

Preparing to deal with the negative implications of the budget crisis, the 
Research Division simultaneously sought increased revenue from grant 
sources. Submissions were made to the U.S. Department of Education for 
preservation microfilming and cataloging of the Brown Collection in the Music 
Department and for cataloging a valuable collection on the Irish rebellion of 
1798. Another grant request was submitted to the Massachusetts Council on 
the Arts and Humanities for preservation microfilming of the Handel and 
Haydn archives. 

Successful funding came from the National Endowment for the 
Humanities for cataloging Massachusetts newspapers as part of the 
Massachusetts Newspaper Program. In March the Boston Public Library hosted 
a three-day workshop in which Library of Congress staff offered training for 
newspaper cataloging. Another successful grant was received from the 
Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners to address the Library's 
extensive backlog in cataloging. 

Problems of space continued in all parts of the Research Library — 
space for collections, service, and increasingly for electronic reference and 
bibliographic stations. The introduction of computer technology points up the 
urgency behind the McKim building renovation and its mandate for adequate 
electrical power. 

Collection development, ser\ices, programs, and exhibits were 
handled for the most part by the individual departments of the Research 
Library. The impact of automation in accelerating ser\ice and expanding 
access to data was increasingly evident in all departments. A vivid description 
of this impact came from the curator of Humanities Reference Sally Beecher: 
"In early 1984 there were no signs of automation in the department. Now we 
are fortunate to have access by terminals to the Library's holdings, to the 



Faxon database, to the Boston Consortium Union List of Serials, to multiple 
databases provided by DIALOG, mLSONLlNE. BRS, and MJ/TEXT and to the 
international bibliographic holdings of OGLG. These sources have become part 
of our daily routines — so much so that we have to stop and think how (or if) 
we managed to get certain information before their advent. (This thought 
process is forced upon us when we experience the dreaded 'downtime')." 

In addition to their ongoing activities, staff of the Music Department 
were contributors to several projects beyond the Library. The department 
joined Opus Publications of New Haven in supplying items in the Librarj^'s 
retrospective holdings of music periodicals for a series titled Nineteenth 
Century American Music Periodicals on Microfilm. In return for its 
participation, the Music Department receives free reels of microfilm. The staff 
also shared its expertise this year in writing: Gharlotte Kolczynski reviewed for 
Choice; Michael Rogan edited the publication Musical Woman and reviewed 
for the Music Library Association's Notes; and staff joined Gurator Diane Ota 
in the editing and production of the Newsletter of the New England Ghapter of 
the Music Library Association. The Music Department represented its holdings 
in several exhibits: among them, "Boston Musica Viva at Twenty"; "Spring 
into Song"; "The Esplanade: Fifty Years of Musical Enjoyment"; and "History 
of Recorded Opera from Wax to Gompact Disc." And programming of musical 
events shared the department's agenda, from a concert by pianist Trudi Van 
Slyck, featuring contemporary piano works including Walter Piston's 
"Passacaglia." to pre-concert lectures by David Stockton, artistic director of 
the Boston Goncert Opera. 

This year the Fine Arts Department brought to a close the major 
Peabody and Steams project with a final analysis and report. The project 
assessed the physical condition and collected data on the intellectual content 
of more than 1,300 rolls containing plans from the distinguished Peabody and 
Steams architectural firm, which flourished between 1870 and 1917. In 
addition to completing this project, the Fine Arts Department proceeded with 
its high-volume reference services in person, by phone and letter, and through 
Interlibrary Loan. The department responded to the increasing requests from 
users for photocopies in several ways, both in-house and by arrangements with 
reprographic firms. 

Like the Music Department, Fine Arts shared its resources in a 
microfilm project, loaning ten periodical titles to Gomell University for its 
19th Gentury American Architectural Periodicals Research project. Other 
materials were loaned to Wellesley Gollege and the French Library. In an 
example of international outreach, Fine Arts loaned a copy of O. S. Fowler's A 
Home for All or The Gravel Wall and Octagon Mode of Building for exhibition 
at the Institute and Museum of the Historv of Science in Florence. 



The services of the Fine Arts Department and Curator Janice 
Chadboume were repeatedly acknowledged this year in publications on art. 
And the staff of the department joined other Research Library units in much 
appreciated responses to queries in the "Ask the Globe" column of the Boston 
Globe. A major tribute came to the department that read as follows: "The 
Boston Preservation Alhance 1989 Preservation Award is presented to the Fine 
Arts Department of the Boston Public Library for the conservation of the 
architectural records of Peabody & Steams." 

This year the Print Department continued its record of exceptional 
growth in collections and major exhibitions. The department celebrated the 
gift by Mrs. Merle Sherea in 1987 of prints and drawings by American artist 
Thomas Handforth (1897-1948) with an exhibition in the Wiggin Gallery, 
"Thomas Handforth and the Art of Travel." The exhibit featured items 
reflecting the artist's travels during the 1920s and 1930s from his home in 
Tacoma, Washington, to France, North Africa, the Orient, and elsewhere. Still 
another important exhibit featured the etchings by an eminent father/son 
team, Auguste and Eugene Delatre, as well as etchings they printed for such 
artists as Meryon, Whistler, and Gassatt. Starting in the 1840s, August Delatre 
taught artists and printers in Paris the nuances of the artistic printing of 
etchings. The Library is fortunate in owning the contents of the Delatre studio 
at the time of its closing after World War IL 

Photographs from Library collections formed the centerpiece of 
several Print Department exhibits this year: "A Gelebration of Photo- 
graphy... Saluting the 150th Anniversary of the Invention of Photography"; 
"Diamonds in the Rough," which pictured baseball players from the 1890s 
through the 1960s; "The Fitzgeralds and the Kennedys"; and, marking the 
50th anniversary of the Quabbin Reservoir, "Quabbin" displayed photographs 
by David Haas, the culmination of a six-year collaboration between the Boston 
Public Library and Haas. In another collaboration, this time with the 
distinguished Boston art collector John Merriam, the Print Department 
mounted the exhibition "Seven from Boston." works by Bostonians Avakian, 
Boyce, Dergalis, Gabin, di Giovanno, Given, and der Hohannesian. 

The Print Department, like Fine Arts, is involved in the labor- 
intensive serx'ice of responding to requests for copy photographs of items in 
the Library's collections. As Keeper of Prints Sinclair Hitchings notes: 
"Demand for photographic services continues to grow as the public learns 
more about the pictorial riches in BPL collections." He recommends "setting 
goals for a more efficient approach... preferably looking toward an office of 
photographic services." 

The Rare Books and Manuscripts Department continued its outreach 
and influence in scholarly efforts national and international, deserving much 



credit for maintaining the Library' world-class status. In addition to many 
receptions, dialogues, and conferences with donors, antiquarian book 
specialists, visiting scholars, and government officials. Keeper of Rare Books 
and Manuscripts Dr. Laura Monti and her staff designed several exhibits that 
placed department rarities on view, many of them interpreted through 
lectures. Among them: "Stinehour Press"; "Lafayette: A French and American 
Hero"; "Columbus and His Voyages," a collection of posters shared by the 
Italian government. Conservation of books and papers was extensive this year, 
ranging from volumes in the Adams Collection and theater broadsides to 
manuscript sheets from the Prince Collection and papers of the Sacco-Vanzetti 
Defense Committee. 

The Sound Archives Department proceeded this year in major 
acquisition and inventory activities and maintained close association with the 
Music Reference and Audio-Msual Departments. Budget restrictions hampered 
full activities in this department, as in others. By year's end, the sound 
archival holdings — compact discs, cassettes, eight-track tapes — had reached 
the substantial figure of 256,516. 

A key day in the Government Documents Department was the 
inspection of the department in its role as a depository library for government 
documents. Such an inspection day by a representative from the office of the 
Superintendent of Documents takes place one day every five years and is 
designed to insure that the Library is fulfilling its obligations under the law. 
The inspector complimented the staff for their capability and dedication to 
service. He noted certain deficiencies related to record-keeping, conditions of 
space and lighting, and limitations to public accessibility because of the closed 
stack policy. Many of these problems will be addressed with the renovation of 
the McKim building. 

In the midst of fiscal austerity, the department continued activities in 
acquisitions, reference, maintenance of indices, and conducting tours. In 
recognition of the department's unprecedented efforts in the distribution of tax 
forms — more than 100,000 federal and state forms this year — the Internal 
Revenue Ser\ice awarded the Government Documents Department a 
Certificate of Appreciation. 

While staff activities in programming were cut back by the Science 
Reference Department this year, increased activity was devoted to staff 
presentations on patents to colleges and universities. In addition to the 
academic community's emphasis on the invention process, referrals and 
requests for patent data came from the Patent Office, the Massachusetts 
Department of Corporations, and local attorneys. Curator Marilyn McLean 
was elected regional representative for the Patent Depository Association this 
year and conducted their regional conference. She takes responsibility for the 
Association's twice-yearly newsletter. 



At the conclusion of the trial phase of the CASSIS CD/ROM project, 
the Science Reference Department received a new CD, CD equipment, and a 
new computer from the Patent Depository Office. Science Reference remains 
the second heaviest user of CASSIS online across the nation. 

The Social Sciences Department added major international efforts to 
its busy reference regimen. Responses were processed to West Germany, 
Switzerland, South Africa, Nigeria, and New Zealand, a world-reaching ser^ice 
reflected as well in other Research Library departments. The department's 
extensive in-person, telephone, and mail services were enhanced considerably 
with the acquisition of a CD/ROM with access to three major databases. An 
enthusiastic public and staff shared in the use of the new facilities for searches 
and for printout of search results. 

Senices provided this year by the Microtext Department were broad 
and intensive, consistent with a centralized microform ser\'ice facility. In 
addition to individual patrons, other institutions frequently approached the 
department for guidance on microforms and equipment. Demonstrating the 
range and demand for ser^'ices are these numbers for FY89: 108,172 
microforms circulated; 86,527 photocopies produced in the department; 1,662 
photocopies and 47 fiche duplicates made in response to 313 letters and 
interlibrary loan requests; 5,264 rolls of microfilm and 162,480 microfiches 
added this year. Acquisitions considerably expanded resources in the history of 
women, music, fine arts, fashion, and American and South American history. 
Staff of the Microtext Department offered special tours for school children and 
visiting genealogists. Mini-exhibits on the reading machines introduced 
students to department resources. The Newspaper Room continued its brisk 
servicing of current newspaper, paging 43,116 newspapers for 20,743 patron 
requests. 

This year Kirstein Business Branch operated frequently as a "high- 
pressure environment" in terms of numbers of patrons, many of them students 
needing assistance, and the necessity of serving three floors. \Vhile problems 
with equipment and antiquated aspects of the building persisted, positive gains 
were made in the acquisition of several new resources, particularly directories. 
Kirstein Business Branch was monitored this year in terms of service and 
building needs and stands high on Research Library priorities for alleviation of 
problems and automation. The branch was frequently targeted for tours led by 
staff. It should be added here that tours and workshops were brisk in several 
Research Library departments, which welcomed Boston subregion and Eastern 
Region libraries to view the Library's collections and ser\ices. 

In addition to mounting the exhibit of Irish children's books described 
earlier, the Alice M. .Jordan Collection devoted special attention to the Year of 
the Young Reader. Two major exhibitions were assembled: the first, "A Goodly 
Heritage," highHghted New England authors and illustrators of children's 



books, periodicals, serials — significant personalities in the children's field for 
the past hundred years. The second exhibition. "Work with Children." brought 
together archival membership lists, correspondence, oral history tapes, and 
memorabilia of the New England Round Table of Children's Librarians, which 
are on deposit in the Jordan Collection. The two exhibits and supportive 
programs were titled "Our New England Past." A major program featuring 
author/illustrator Barbara Cooney. a panel discussion, and an exhibition 
catalog drew much professional and public interest. The exhibits were viewed 
by a distinguished visitor. Dr. James H. Billington. Librarian of Congress, who 
commended the Boston Public Library for its recognition of the Year of the 
Young Reader. 

Several units in the Research Department and Administrative Services 
defied staff and time constraints to perform effectively in behind-the-scenes 
support of public service centers. Interlibrary Loan experienced considerable 
growth in all categories of requests, and Catalog Information saw a rise in 
numbers of phone calls and questions "coming over the desk." An expanded 
phase of the Telefax project, funded in part by a grant from the Board of 
Library Commissioners, by the year's end consisted of a network of 35 
libraries. Requests numbering 7,897 were received and 7,741 were filled from 
Boston Public Library and Consortium collections. Each of 2,171 of the 
requests were filled by FAX within one hour of receipt. 

Beyond the function of its name. Book Delivery put together and 
distributed a departmental manual and conducted in-depth searching of gifts, 
serials, transfers, and other categories of materials. Curator Scot Cornwall 
described the establishment of a unified periodical center as predictably 
beneficial to public service. 

The "invisible" units most essential in bringing books from purchase 
to patron (Business Office. Acquisitions, Cataloging. Processing. Book 
Preparation, and Data Processing) not only dealt with volume of orders, but 
with revisions in systems or procedures in cataloging and data processing. 

COMMUNITY LIBRARY SERVICES 

The branches and the General Library this year continued to demonstrate the 
many roles of the free public library in an urban setting. The annual report of 
the Codman Square Branch captures the dimensions of this role: "An inner- 
city branch such as Codman Square provides essential ser\ices that are not 
reflected in circulation figures. We provide literacy collections for adults, a 
parents' shelf, a small but helpful medical and law reference section, 
dictionaries and encyclopedias for families that cannot afford to buy books, an 
extensive magazine collection, self-help for studying for exams in a wide 
spectrum of human knowledge, an information referral center for community 
and cultural events, and a directory for human services." Highlighted, too, in 



the report is strong emphasis on dynamic reading and program services to 
children. 

The Hbrary's role as meeting ground, as center for dialogue and 
expression of concern was particularly evident this year. Again, from Godman 
Square: "In the one square mile area around Godman Square there are 
between 25 and 30 neighborhood block or street groups very vocal in their 
concern about crime, vandalism, drugs, deterioration, boarded-up buildings, 
and dying shopping centers. Our library has become a focal point for these 
community groups to express these concerns as well as an information and 
referral center for many of these problems." 

In addition to bringing together concerned residents, libraries are 
committed to acquiring current materials on current events, people, and 
problems (with possible solutions). Speakers and films also spread before 
audiences and participants the dimensions and impact of living in the city in 
this decade. To cite a sampling of guidance and problem-solving programs of 
FY89: "Ghild-rearing in the 80s," presented by Family Service of Greater 
Boston (Brighton); "Gancer Prevention Through Diet and Nutritional Food 
Ghoices," by the Gancer Information Ser\ice (Dudley); "Services for Your 
Elderly Relations," Southwest Senior Ser\ices (Jamaica Plain); "Streetwise 
and Street Smart: How to Take Gare of Yourself on the Streets," Jamaica Plain 
Karate School (Gonnolly); "AIDS and AIDS Gare," Mission Hill Coalition 
Against AIDS (Parker Hill). These programs represent only a sampling of the 
Library's attention to current concerns and show as well the range of 
cooperating agencies that share their expertise. 

On several occasions branches and the central library achieved high 
visibility by involvement in community fairs. Jamaica Plain/Gonnolly Branches 
manned a booth at Jamaica Plain's World's Fair. Ghildren's Librarian Edith 
Bravo presented a bilingual story hour at the Godman Square Fair. West End 
Branch co-sponsored the second Community Resource Fair with the West 
End/Beacon Hill Geriatric Interagency Council that brought together ten 
social service agencies offering information on health, housing, and recreation. 
South Boston Branch sponsored a library information booth at Family Fest '88 
held at the John F. Kennedy Library. And once again the General Library 
joined forces with the Boston Globe in presenting leading authors at the 
annual Globe Book Fair. 

In addition to representing contemporary times, branches and 
General Library performed another library role as resource and program 
centers on history, with emphasis on Boston history. Distinguished historian 
Barbara Tuchman set the stage with a presentation in Rabb Lecture Hall on 
her book The First Salute, a view of the American Revolution. The president 
of the West Roxbury Historical Society gave a slide view of West Roxbury's 
past; the Society for the Preservation of New England Antiquities sponsored a 



10 



program at Jamaica Plain Branch on historic houses in New England; the 
Castle Island Association offered "Castle Island. Then and Now" at South 
Boston Branch. Charlestown Branch patrons learned of "17th and 18th 
Century Holiday Customs at the Paul Revere House"; and Lower Mills Branch 
called upon officers of the Dorchester Historical Society for its National 
Endowment for the Humanities series on Lower Mills. 

Branch Librarian Barbara Wicker of Hyde Park Branch responded to a 
request from Southwest Boston Community Services to help produce a video 
on the agency. For this project she wrote a script on the history of Hyde Park, 
focusing on physical and population changes over the years and the uniqueness 
of the community. The finished product served as a program centerpiece this 
past summer and promises continuing use as a resource. In still another 
creative effort. Adults Services Librarian Paula Posnick of West End Branch 
founded the West End Historical Committee and undertook an oral history 
taping project. Recorded by a camcorder purchased through agency donations, 
elderly citizens offered their reminiscences in the branch or in their homes. In 
other West End projects, the editor of the West End Newsletter gave a visual 
tour of the area in the '50s, using slides from photos in Herbert Gans's book 
The Urban Villagers. Books were also the base for the West End Branch series, 
"Our Literary Heritage, 19th Century Writers In and Around Boston." 

At South Boston Branch some 400 people attended a celebration of 
the publication of South Boston: My Home Town, the first history of South 
Boston to be issued since the turn of the century. The Honorable Thomas H. 
O'Connor, historian at Boston College and member of the Bicentennial 
Commission on the U.S. Constitution, was honored as the author. And 
throughout the city, in all branch libraries and central, even the youngest 
patrons gave animated attention to the history of their city by joining the 
summer reading club with this year's theme "Boston Is My Hometown." 

Community Library Services gave unabated attention in both 
acquisitions and programming to the city's rich ethnic variegation. Like the 
activities already described in the FY88 annual report, programming this year 
ranged from a lecture at the North End Branch on Italian genealogy to a talk 
by poet Valerie Foxx on "The Black Experience in Drama and Poetry" at 
Dudley Branch, and celebration of the Chinese New Year at Connolly. 
Caroline Young, General Library, wrote articles in Chinese for the Sampan, 
Boston's bihngual newspaper, to introduce Chinese readers to collections and 
ser\ices of the Library. She also wrote introductory handouts which tell how 
to find books and periodicals in the Library. 

The Library continued, also, a dynamic range of exhibits and 
activities for all groups in their various roles as children, teenagers, students, 
parents, senior citizens, and people with special needs. Librarians visited 



11 



1,494 school classes reaching almost 30,000 children; and, in return, 23,337 
children visited branch libraries and central for programs and tours. Total 
attendance of children at film and other activities in libraries numbered 
146,357. Thus the Boston Public Library productively observed what was 
designated nationally as The Year of the Young Reader. 

Reading Is Fundamental activities were sponsored by H. P. Hood 
Company, Digital Equipment, and Fidelity Investments at Gharlestovvn, 
Dudley, and Fields Comer Branches. Stellar event of the year for young 
patrons was the appearance of "The Story Lady" at branches throughout the 
city. Reports on the story hours delivered by Jackie Torrence described her 
impact on her young listeners in unmatched hyperbole. It was variously 
reported that she "entranced," "mesmerized," and "engrossed" her audiences. 
As Roslindale Branch's report put it, "Jackie Torrence held 250 children and 
adults spellbound as she wove her magic." 

Teenagers were targeted this year in book acquisitions geared to their 
interests and in film programs and lectures on such topics as individualized 
library instruction and guidance on science projects. The Young Adult 
Department of the General Library sponsored its annual Creative Writing 
Workshop with author Deborah Savage speaking on writing techniques and 
publishing. The Young Adult Teen Tutor Project, fimded in February 1988 by a 
grant from "Teens as Community Resources," became fully functional this 
year in the Young Adult Department. In this project, students tutored their 
peers in algebra and Latin. A solid collection of books, tapes, and videos was 
purchased to assist tutors in their contact with "tutees." 

An innovative, collaborative effort directed at teens involved the 
Young Adult Department with the Judge Connelly Youth Center, a facility for 
incarcerated young men ages 13 to 18. In consultation with reading teachers 
at the center. Young Adult staff selected books for deposit there, served as 
advisors on daily operation procedures, shelving, and furniture for the 
establishment of a library at the facility. For their assistance, librarians 
Catherine Clancy and Laura Peale were honored at a testimonial luncheon. 
The report on this cooperation notes that "through this interagency contact 
we are making a difference in the lives of young adults whom we would 
otherwise never reach." In other Young Adult activities, the Library staff 
joined area libraries in creating a Young Adult Librarian Network to share 
ideas on books and programming. 

Activities for adults that frequently reach teenagers as well were, as 
always, numerous and varied on themes related to their roles as parents and 
citizens — concerns of health, finance, self improvement, leisure entertainment, 
and hobbies. The total attendance at branch/central-sponsored lectures, films, 
discussions, receptions, and other events numbered 58,380. 



12 



For almost 40 years the Boston Public Library has built a special 
program of service to senior adults. That record of involving such patrons as 
contributing/leaming/influential members of the community remains still the 
approach of the Library. They are not on-the-shelf people lapsing into limp old 
age, but people of vitality and power. Variously referred to in branch activities 
as "elders," "senior adults," "young in heart," the group over 60 are most 
commonly called "Never Too Late" patrons. In the 39th anniversary program 
of the General Library Never Too Late group, the oldest library-sponsored 
gathering in the nation, Helen Heineman, Professor of English at Framingham 
State College, lectured on "Francis Trollope: A Career at Mid-Life." True to 
the objectives of the program, this event was intellectually challenging. A total 
of almost 7,000 people attended the series in central in FY89. 

The recently established Access Center was a particularly effective 
arm in the Library's efforts for people with special needs. The first anniversary 
of the center was observed in December: "the most significant, encouraging, 
and heartwarming event (of the center] of FY89. More than 70 people 
attended, representing a range of disabled people — blind/visually impaired, 
deaf/hearing impaired, mobility impaired. Attendees were genuinely interested 
in the Kurzweil Reading Machine, the Apple-enhanced computers, the Versa- 
Braille, the close-captioned cassettes, and the book/periodical collection." As 
part of its consideration of users with special needs, FM receivers were made 
available to 45 hearing-impaired persons at 20 programs. 

Shut-ins and residents and clientele of nursing homes, hospitals, and 
youth and senior centers received attention from branches and Extension 
Services in the form of deposits of materials which totaled 268,396 items. Still 
another group receiving special materials and services were the adult learners 
in ABE (Adult Basic Education) classes, ranging from citizens with English as a 
second language (ESL) to people with learning disabilities. Buttressed by 
several grants (hsted in the Gifts and Grants section), the Library acquired 
background materials on adult literacy, and literacy resource collections were 
created in 14 branches and in the central library. Spearheaded by a Boston 
Public Library Coordinating Committee on Literacy, the Library has advanced 
rapidly in reaching many of Boston's thousands of refugees and immigrants as 
well as adults stalled at the 5th grade reading level. The energies of the 
Coordinating Committee moved this year from evaluation and acquisition of 
materials to outreach efforts and to devising strategies to find and serve the 
targeted clientele. A key component in these efforts is collaboration with 
university and community specialists. For example, Godman Square Branch 
works closely with ^VEA^^. an adult literacy group, and the Haitian Multi- 
Service Center. 



13 



The Audio-Visual Department chalked up another remarkable year in 
circulation of films to Boston Public Library units and community 
organizations and to Eastern Regional libraries. The department showed its 
almost legendary imagination in translating its film resources into program 
series unified by actor, genre, director, and such — e.g. "Salute to Charlie 
Chaplin" on his 100th birthday; "Ode to James Joyce"; "Performance by 
Poitier," and famous silent films. The department also complemented Library 
exhibits and programs with related film screenings. Audio-Visual statistics for 
FY89 recorded 18,827 audio-cassettes and recordings circulated; 8,725 films 
used by Eastern Regional libraries and 4,416 used by Boston PubHc Libraries 
and community organizations. 

Community Library Services embarked this year on the circulation of 
audio-cassettes with marked success. Branch reports repeatedly cited user 
approval of the newly introduced format. Adams Street commented on the 
"steady circulation" of children's cassettes. Charlestown Branch reported that 
the cassettes circulated "briskly" among children and adults, noting that the 
favorites were music, narrations of popular titles, and follow-along easy 
readers. Parker Hill Branch summarized the impact of audio-cassettes: "The 
circulation has been phenomenal. Almost all of the children's and most of the 
adult literacy tapes we own are circulating at any given time." 

The Library added video-cassettes to the collection including 
cassettes of interest to professional librarians — book production, grants- 
manship, storytelling, labor relations, foreign language, computer appli- 
cations, and Video Classics donated by the MacArthur Foundation. Plans 
continue for future acquisition of video-cassettes for circulation to individuals. 

With the purchase of a large portable screen and a video projector, it 
became possible for overflow crowds, beyond the seating and safety limits of 
Rabb Lecture Hall, to see the hall programs off-site. 

AUTOMATION 

Installation of terminals for the automated circulation system was completed 
this year. As East Boston Branch described the new technology: "The staff has 
taken to the DRA system and isn't afraid of the new technology. Registration of 
borrowers began in January." The system will make three million books and 
non-print materials more accessible by linking electronically all branch 
libraries with the circulating collections in the General Library and the Metro- 
Boston Library Network. The network system has been made possible by 2.2 
million dollars in grants from the federal and state governments in addition to 
ongoing support from network cities and towns. At the program celebrating 
the restoration of Connolly Branch, the first library card for the new system 
was issued, a card made of gray plastic with a motif of Library lanterns. 



14 



Other uses of equipment that expedited service goals were reported 
by Brighton Branch, noting a brisk use of electronic mail and FAX. West 
Roxbur\', Godman Square, and Brighton Branches reported the value of 
Infotrac in periodical searching. As Brighton noted, "Infotrac, in combination 
with FAX. increased the timeliness of retrieving periodical articles." 

NATIONAL ENDOWMENT FOR THE HUMANITIES 

The tradition of bringing university-level lectures to interested adults was 
pursued this year with vitality and variety in lecture series funded by the 
Library's endowment from the National Endowment for the Humanities. 
Reactions to the mind-stretching experiences were typified by the enthusiasm 
in participants at the Grove Hall sequence where Representative Byron 
Rushing presented "Roxbury, A Political Geography": "a fascinating and highly 
informative look at the history of our community. Attendees, whether lifelong 
residents of Roxbury or new arrivals, left each program looking forward to the 
next." 

Other series, ranging from literature to history and art were: 

"Portraits of the Artist," Thomas O'Grady (Hyde Park). 

"Irish Dissent," Prof. Francis Phelan, Stonehill College 
(Gharlestown). 

"Reviewing the Black Past: A History of Blacks Making 
Movies about Themselves." Dr. Glyde Taylor, Tufts 
University (Godman Square). 

"Gelebration of Boston Area Painters," Museum of Fine 
Arts Boston (Fields Gomer). 

"Writing Lives: The Art and Graft of Biography." Justin 
Kaplan, Gynthia Wolff, Susan Quinn, Mary Helen 
Washington (Brighton) 

"Good Olde Dorchester," Dorchester Historical Society 
(Lower Mills). 

"Imagining Boston: A Look at Four Novels." Prof. 
Shaun O'Gonnell, University of Massachusetts (Parker 
Hill). 



15 



"Aladdin's Lamp Revealed: A Journey Through the 
Arab World," Edmond J. Moussally, Northeastern 
University (Roslindale). 

"Inventing Ireland and Other Memories of the Future," 
Padraig O'Malley, University of Massachusetts/Boston 
(South Boston). 

"The Architect's Dream: Boston Buildings from 
Bulfinch to Blackall," Prof. Gerald S. Bernstein, 
Brandeis University (South End and Jamaica Plain). 



"Literary Dublin: A Look at Modern Irish Literature," 
Herbert A. Kenny (Adams Street). 

Among the annual lectureships presented this year were the following: 

Mary U. Nichols Book Awards Program: Robert O'Brien, 
Executive Director of the North End Union, spoke on "The 
North End Union in the Decade of the Nineties," focusing on 
the changes the depression of the central artery may bring to 
the area in the next ten years. 

10th annual Gibbons Memorial Lecture: Father James 
DiPerri lectured on the history of the Catholic Church in 
South Boston. 

W. A. Dwiggins Lecture, co-sponsored with the Society of Printers: A 
dialogue between Mathew Carter and Carl Zahn, "Design of Type; 
Design with Type." 

PUBLICATIONS 

This report began with reference to a small book with large implications, it's 
never easy, published this year by the Library in collaboration with the Family 
Learning Center at Boston University. The 13 authors of short pieces in the 
book deal in quiet power with their pasts, their coming to America, and their 
aspirations. As Worth Douglas, District Supervisor for the Brighton district and 
project coordinator for the Library, says in her introduction: "To produce a 
single short story is not easy." And again: "It requires a willingness to think 
seriously, face parts of our lives which may be hurtful, and organize our ideas 



16 



and thoughts in such a way that those who read the words will understand our 
meaning." 

An equally exciting publication also originated this year in the 
Brighton district. Children are the authors of a handsome little newsletter The 
Oak Leaf. Published bimonthly, it contains the writing of young people from 
the Oak Square/Brighton neighborhoods and schools. The newsletter consists 
of short stories, poetry, puzzles, book reviews, and a list of new books and 
programs at the Faneuil Branch. 

The Research Library issued a bibliography and supplement of an 
important recent purchase by the Library, a collection of books on the Soviet 
Union published in the Soviet Union. The list was printed with the assistance 
of the Eastern Regional Office and distributed to Massachusetts libraries and 
other interested institutions. 

Several booklists and manuals were published this year by depart- 
ments — booklists on children's literature by the Jordan Collection, a 
departmental manual put together by Book Delivery, also annual booklists for 
Black History Month and for the Massachusetts Federation of Women's Clubs. 
Staff of Reader and Information Services compiled several subject biblio- 
graphies. A color-coded directory of department and service locations of the 
central libraries was produced for display and handout. 

STAFF AND FRIENDS 

Repeatedly this report has called attention to the commitment and energy of 
staff in their service to the public, their readiness to learn new technologies, 
their involvement in outreach, their contributions behind the scenes as well as 
in visible activities. And repeatedly the Trustees and administration have 
acknowledged staff efforts to maintain levels of serA'ice during a crisis period. 
In a special tribute to two retiring staff members who have worked in the 
Boston Public Library for almost 100 years, the Trustees paid tribute to B. 
Joseph O'Neil, Supervisor of the Research Library, and M. Jane Manthome, 
Assistant Director for Communications and Community Affairs and Clerk of 
the Corporation. In a resolution on 22 December 1988, the Trustees cited Mr. 
O'Neil's loyal service, professionalism, resourcefulness and ingenuity in 
reference service, dedication to the preservation of Massachusetts newspapers, 
and direction of programs related to newspapers. The Trustees named him 
Curator of Newspapers Emeritus. 

In a resolution on Jane Manthome. the Trustees cited her dedication, 
her distinction in many areas of librarianship, her presidency of the Young 
Adult Services Division of A.L.A., and other professional accomplishments. 
Mindful of her great interest in ser\ices to young adults, the Trustees 
established a scholarship in her name for grants to staff for either formal study 
or continuing education in the field of Young Adult Services. 



17 



Branch Friends groups continued their active support in program 
sponsorship and fundraising. A new Friends organization was launched this 
year at East Boston Branch. In another first, the Associates of the Boston 
PubHc Library estabhshed the Epstein Award for Outstanding Career 
Achievement in Screenwriting. The first award was presented to Ruth Prawer 
Jhabvala and the award event included the screening of two of her films. The 
Associates also sponsored several other Library events including presentations 
of plays and play-reading, co-sponsored with New Voices; and a pre-election 
panel of leading columnists and commentators, "Five Days to Go^and Then 
What?" 

BUILDINGS 

Many capital improvements for branch library buildings remained in the 
planning stage or on hold this year. Attention to urgent needs such as roof 
repair, handicap access, and asbestos removal was accomplished at several 
branches. New gas-fired boilers were installed at East Boston and Jamaica 
Plain Branches. 

Priority was accorded throughout the Library to security with 
resultant improved exterior lighting, construction of secure rooms for storage 
of equipment, and installation of alarm systems linked directly to the Boston 
Municipal Police. The effectiveness of the alarm system was rather 
dramatically demonstrated at Parker Hill Branch when — as the branch report 
notes — "a would-be thief was apprehended while climbing down the library 
wall." 

The improvements in branches met with staff and public 
appreciation. At their annual meeting. Friends of the Hyde Park Branch held a 
dedication ceremony for the newly installed handicap ramp. Orient Heights 
Branch acknowledged the generous donation of the branch building and land 
by members of the Druker family, with the unveiling of a bronze plaque. A 
Boston Works Smarter grant was awarded to Julie Brandl's suggestion for 
completion of plexiglass guards on all the inside ramps of Brighton Branch. 

The most celebratory event occurred on October 1 at Connolly 
Branch in recognition of the handsome renovation completed there. Mayor 
Flynn, numerous political/civic leaders, and a large turnout of residents were 
in attendance. The new circulation system was officially launched with the 
presentation of the first library cards to Mayor Flynn, Library Director Arthur 
Curley, and a neighborhood child. 

McKIM BUILDING RESTORATION 

The McKim project proceeded on several fronts this year: submission and 
approval (or approval pending) with several regulatory agencies in terms of 
handicap access, exit requirements for health and public safety, and historical 



18 



appropriateness. Architects Shepley. Bulfinch. Richardson, and Abbott. Inc. 
substantially completed working drawings for phase one of the restoration, 
predicting that the project will go out to bid in 1989. Word was received that a 
construction grant in the amount of 87,000.000 will be awarded by the 
Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners. 

In commemoration of the centennial of the laying of the cornerstone 
on 28 November 1898. the Library mounted an exhibition. "A Tribute to the 
People's Palace," featuring books, photos, and archival materials. 

THE CAMPAIGN FOR THE LIBRARY 

Preparations moved forward this year for the launching of the major 
fundraising effort of the Library with the appointment of distinguished 
citizen/leaders, denoted as a Partnership for the Library's Future. The 
Partnership comprises Walter J. Connolly, Jr., chairman and CEO, Bank of 
New England, who serves as chair; Honorable William M. Bulger, president, 
Massachusetts State Senate; Doris Keams Goodwin, author; Rosalind E. Gorin, 
president. H. N. Gorin Associates. Inc.; Edward C. Johnson III. chairman and 
CEO. Fidelity Management; Bertram M. Lee, president, BML Associates; E. 
James Morton, chairman and CEO. John Hancock Mutual Life Insurance 
Company; Ira Stepanian. president and CEO. Bank of Boston; William 0, 
Taylor, chairman, publisher, and CEO, Globe Newspaper Company. Meetings 
of the group have been held to explore strategies and the possibility of altering 
the governance of the Librarv'^ to expand the base for reachout to likely donors. 
Behind-the-scenes activities within the Development Office of the 
Library continued. A major achievement of the year was the production by 
Communications for Learning of "This Is Ours; The Campaign for The 
Library," an 18-minute, multi-projector slide show as well as video-cassettes 
for use in the fundraising. 

GRANTS AND GIFTS 

Major contributions in funding and in kind added to the Library's growth in 
collections and programs this year. Gifts ranged from thousands of dollars to 
single copies of books. As the Gifts Librarian Margaret Bowles expressed it, 
"Gifts [of books] can play an important role in maintaining stack integrity; and 
with the fiscal uncertainty that exists, 'free' material can be a great assist." 

The total number of gifts received this year (books — hardcover and 
paperback — serials and magazines, recordings, and other formats) reached 
29,072 items. A "surprise" bequest of 8345.000 came from lawyer Herman 
Leventhal, who in his retirement had become almost a daily user of the Boston 
Public Library. A former client remembers him as an astute lawyer and a fine 
and honest man. The Library will remember him for his great generosity. 



19 



A partial list of grants and gifts follows: 

Junior League of Boston (for Art and Architectural 

Tour Program) 830,000 

Boston Foundation of Architects (for same program) 1.000 

Associates of the Boston Public Library for tour 

director's salary 7,500 

Fidelity Foundation (for Gonnick brochure) 11,315 

Department of Education/LSGA I 

(for Datalink Sharing for Boston area) 221,000 

(for outreach to Hispanic parents & children) 27,035 

(for Supervisory Skills Workshops) 25,100 

LSGA M (for literacy collection) 25,000 

Title II-G for Massachusetts Newspaper Program 

microfilming 210,000 

LSGA II for McKim restoration 221,922 

New England Foundation for the Arts 

(for Design of Motley exhibition) 2,500 

(for Ghilean exhibition) 5,425 

Board of Library Gommissioners 

(programming for Motley exhibition) 2,500 

(processing Research Library backlog) 311,509 

Association of Research Libraries 

System wide Preservation Survey — stipend 1,000 

Systemwide Preservation Survey — in kind 10,000 

ShoUey Foundation (for literacy collection) 1,500 

Boston Globe Foundation 1.000,000 

Weber Gharities 10,000 

Surdna Foundation (for Visiting Scholar, 

Print Department) 75,000 

H. P. Hood (Reading Is Fundamental) 2,000 

Digital (Reading Is Fundamental) 2,000 

Fidelity Investment (Reading Is Fundamental) 3,000 

B. Dalton (Reading Is Fundamental) 3,000 

MacArthur Foundation (for PBS Video Glassies 

Series, in kind) 18,000 

Boston Foundation — Greenspace for East Boston 3,000 



20 



GIFTS (a partial Ust) 
Anderson. Wayne: 1,400 art books and catalogs. 
Bendiner Collection: a succession of gifts establishing at BPL 

one of the finest existing collections of the drawings and 

prints of Alfred Bendiner of Philadelphia. 
Boston Authors Club: S250. 
Boston University. Mugar Library: 173 spiral-bound paperbacks, 

522 hardcover cookbooks. 22 bound magazines on cooking. 
Brothers, Dr. Joyce: 107 paperbacks. 96 hardcovers, all review 

copies. 
Bernard Ghaet Collection: 100 drawings. 
Cohasset Public Library: 700 monographs. 
Fogg Art Museum: 1,000 auction catalogs. 
Gutche, Genem, composer: his works. 

Grady. John: 139 paperback books. 71 magazines, 71 other items. 
Estate of H. Earle Johnson for Music Department: S 10,000. 
Estate of Herman Leventhal: 8345,000. 
Middleboro Public Library: 270 monographs. 
O'Connor. L J.: S500. 
Reher, Sven: composer: his works. 
Roden, Stephanie: 210 sound recordings. 119 books, and 

36 album sets. 
Rybum. Donna and Scott: 87,500. 
Slater, Mr. and Mrs.: 3.000 items — popular song sheets, jazz 

collections, piano teaching methods, and classical piano 

works. 
The Rare Books and Manuscripts Department received many gifts 
consisting of letters, authors' autographed works, also an ultra-violet light for 
reading very faint documents. 

CRISIS 

The positive momentum of FY88 threatened to come to a halt in the latter half 
of this year. The services which had begun implementation with the master 
plan adopted by the Trustees in January 1986, "A Program to Rebuild and 
Revitalize the Resources and Services of the Boston Public Library" were 
severely threatened. And the crisis put in hazard, as well, the staff which had 
been recently recruited, the hours which had been restored, the materials 
earmarked for purchase — all the elements in the master plan for growth and 
progress, for the rejuvenation of the Boston Public Library. 

On 9 February 1989. the Trustees adopted the FY90 budget proposal 
for submission to the Budget Office, a process scheduled to be followed by 



21 



action by the Mayor and the City Council. Subsequent to adoption by the 
Trustees, Kevin Moloney, president of the Board, commended Library 
management for the "depth and quality of analysis" of the proposal. 

The budget request of 822,466,366 represented a maintenance level, 
including provision of staffing for the addition to the West Roxbury Branch and 
the Literacy Center at Dudley Branch. The city's Office of Budget and Program 
Evaluation recommended a budget of 818,500,300, 8969,980 less than the 
Library's current budget and a shortfall of 83,966,066 from the FY90 request. 
The proposed budget will require a 20 percent cut in Personnel in addition to 
a million dollar cut in non-personnel costs. In a Trustees' meeting of 1 May 
1989, Moloney concluded that the Library was facing "extremely grave 
financial circumstances." If the funding situation were to remain unchanged, 
he noted that "major surgery" in hours and services would be necessary 
throughout the Library. Moloney described the crisis as a direct result of the 
state's decision to decrease local aid to cities and towns augmented by a 
Budget Office use of a wrong payroll figure in projecting the personnel budget. 

As the end of FY89 approached, a wave of action swelled in several 
sectors. Faced with the imminent realities of a bleak fiscal situation, the 
Library management drew up a Program of Service Reductions, a devastating 
counterpoint to the program for revitalization. Director Arthur Gurley called 
the reductions "a fundamental blow to the achievements over the past four 
years in circulation, program attendance, and library use." The cutbacks 
proposed were widespread including elimination of summer Saturday hours, 
continued elimination of Sunday service in central, decreased acquisition of 
books and serials, deferred opening of the Dudley Literacy Center, and 
numerous other reductions recorded in the Minutes of the Trustees' 
Administrative Meeting of 5 June 1989. As FY89 neared an end. the crisis — 
described by Arthur Curley as a "threatened disaster" — mandated the issuance 
of layoff notices to more than one hundred staff members. 

Throughout the spring and early summer the Library had studied in 
depth virtually all possible options that finally resulted in the "extremely 
painful and unfortunate developments" here described. In response, 
neighborhoods went into action. Meetings were held with state legislators to 
seek restoration of local aid and with city officials to seek review of the impact 
of the budget. Friends groups in branches and the Citywide Friends were 
mobilized, rallying to a cause reminiscent of 1981's Proposition 2 1/2 and its 
threat of cutbacks. More than 7,000 citizens signed petitions that were 
forwarded to the mayor; the Trustees and administration joined Friends in 
branch libraries to review the crisis; local newspapers interviewed branch 
librarians and pubHshed articles on the "gravity of the situation." Some staff 
members, facing loss of their jobs, accepted positions in other libraries. 



or> 



The Boston Globe contributed a free full-page ad to the Friends in 
support of their cry to restore funds. Even the children of Boston were 
involved. Channel 7's program. "Ready To Go." interviewed youngsters at the 
South Boston Branch on their opinions of the proposed budget cuts. 

So it was that deep concern reached into each neighborhood and 
stirred citizens to action. The branch librarian of South End said, "Now after 
about five or six hard years of work to really get the branch moving, we will 
now be going backwards." And the Hyde Park librarian summarized: "It's hard 
to believe that a fiscal year that began with such promise could end on such a 
sad note." 

After all this, FY89 ended with a degree of hope for library service; 
the possibility emerged of a partial restoration of the requested budget. On 28 
June, layoff notices for 7 July were postponed to 14 July while the Library 
awaited the resolution of the budget crisis. 

Arthur Gurley 
Director and Librarian 



23 



LIBRARY RESOURCES 



General Book Collections 
Volumes 



6.141.482 



Special Collections 

Rare Books and Manuscripts 

Prints 

Patents 

Maps 

Government Documents 

Musical Scores 



1,232,851 
1,206,148 
9,566,498 

329,845 
2,595,640 

100,772 



Periodicals 

Current Subscriptions 

Non-Print Materials 
Audio-Recordings 
Films & \^deo-Cassettes 
Pictorial Works 



16,704 



305,604 

14,485 

522,819 



Microforms 



TOTAL 



3.961.122 
25,993,970 



LIBRARY USE 



Visitors 

Programs 

Program Attendance 

Items Borrowed 

Volumes Consulted 

Reference Inquiries 

Photocopies 



2,576.548 
7,469 
208,386 
1,959.237 
1,044,064 
1,205,732 
1,481,365 



24 



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25 



EXAMINING COMMITTEE 
PUBLIC LIBRARY OF THE CITY OF BOSTON 

1987-1989 



Berthe M. Gaines, Chair 
Joan Byrne, Vice Chair 
V. Paul Deare 
Paul Faircloth 
William Johnson 
Lorraine Khan-Broy 
Paul J. Lynch 
Robert Mulligan 
Barbara Cakes 
Marc Seigle 
Pamela Seigle 
Robert Smith 
Robert D. Stueart 
Deborah Thomas 
Mary Van Meter 



26 



EXAMINING COMMITTEE REPORT: A Summan^ 

The Examining Committee that convened for 1987-1989 was aware that the 
previous committee had done a superb, exhaustive report. The new committee 
decided to review the prior report and then focus on a few major concerns. 
The following summation of the findings of three subcommittees demonstrates 
that each area has been addressed in a cogent, meaningful manner. 

McKim Building Restoration and 
Fundraising Subcommittee 

The subcommittee reviewed the three phases of the restoration of the McKim 
building and the work to be accomplished within each phase. The 
architectural firm, Shepley Bulfinch Richardson and Abbott, has produced the 
design and working drawings for the project. 

Phase I. which will be publicly funded at a cost of approximately 16 
million dollars, will focus on the infrastructure — the plumbing, electrical, 
heating, and air-conditioning systems. This phase will also include some 
restoration work on the magnificent murals, refurbishing the grandeur of the 
interior of the main entrance, and construction of a tea room and bookstore. 
Basement space, presently used exclusively for storage, will be recaptured for 
public use as exhibition rooms and lavatories. The inclusion of more than 
infrastnicture work is considered important for fundraising purposes. 

Phase II will be directed towards the second floor of the McKim 
building: restoration of the floors and walls of Bates Hall and relocation of the 
book deliver)' desk to the Eliot Room. As part of the second floor restoration, a 
photocopying center will be added, the periodicals will be consolidated, and 
the science department will be relocated to the Johnson building. 

Phase III, centered on the third floor, will include the conversion of 
the north wing into an area for the display of special collections and the 
creation of a large reading and reference area for the Print Department, The 
art work on all levels will be restored. 

Fundraising Subcommittee 

Since 1986 a professional fundraiser, Corcoran Associates, has been working 
with the Board of Trustees and the management of the Library to develop and 
implement a fundraising campaign. As an initial step in that campaign, a group 
of distinguished corporate and civic leaders came together and formed the 
"Partnership for the Librar>''s Future." [For names of members, see page 19 of 
the Annual Report for FY1988-89 to which this report is appended.] 

.\fter four meetings, including management and staff briefings on 
Libran' operations and the campaign's goals and time frame, the Partnership 
feels positive about Librar>' management and the campaign. From all reports. 



27 



the Partnership believes that the campaign has been well conceived and its 
financial goals are conservative. The Partnership has recommended that the 
ultimate goal, from public fimds and private fimdraising. be increased from 
fifty to eighty million dollars. It is further recommended, in light of the 
magnitude of the project, that the Board of Trustees be expanded from five to 
nine members and that a twenty-five-member Board of Overseers be created. 

As a result of the Partnership's findings. Mayor Raymond L. Flynn 
submitted a home rule petition to the City Council seeking to reorganize the 
governance of the Librar\^ The petition for expansion of the Board to nine 
members was passed in amended form by the City Council on .lanuarA^ 24, 
1989. This amended petition contains language that requires that the Mayor's 
appointments to the Board of Trustees be confirmed by the City Council. The 
Mayor has yet to sign the petition. 

On .lanuary 25. 1989. an amendment to the ordinance relative to the 
powers and duties of the Board of Trustees empowered the Trustees to create 
a 25-member Board of Overseers. This amendment was passed by the City 
Council and became effective on April 26, 1989. 

The subcommittee views the fundraising campaign as stalled at this 
time. There is a risk, if the campaign does not commence soon, that the 
ultimate success is in jeopardy. The impression would be created that it had 
made "a sputtering start." The subcommittee recommends that the campaign 
consider immediate commencement, regardless of whether the Board of 
Tnistees has been expanded to nine members. 

Subcommittee on Buildings 

After reviewing Examining Committee reports for 1983-84 and 1986-87. this 
subcommittee decided to give primary attention to maintenance and repairs of 
branch library' buildings. 

Recognizing that to conduct a thorough analysis of the main- 
tenance/repair process would require time and resources not available to the 
subcommittee, the group limited themselves to lines of accountability in the 
process and branch librarians' perceptions of how the process works. 

Data for the report were gathered in part through interviews with 
management in the Library responsible for buildings maintenance and repairs 
(assistant director for physical plant and operations) and the city department 
responsible for capital repairs (assistant commissioner. Public Facilities 
Department). Data were obtained from branch librarians through circulation 
of 14 questionnaires with 13 respondents. Questions asked in the survey of 
librarians dealt with the job description of the custodian assigned to their unit, 
the quality of training and supervision, their evaluation of the work done, the 
time allocated their unit for such work, and the librarians' power to deal with 



28 



concerns about their buildings, also to whom they address their problems and 
the resultant response and action. Lastly, librarians were asked to suggest and 
rank in importance changes or improvements in the entire maintenance 
process. 

Branch librarians offered often vehement responses. They pointed out 
their total absence of a supervisory role in maintaining their units and a 
circuitous, slow route to address the needs of their buildings. They noted that 
the line of command flows from the assistant director for physical plant and 
operations to two supervisors of custodians, then to the custodians 
themselves. There exists no formal accountability to the branch librarian or 
formal, citywide standards for custodians' perfoiTtiance and evaluation. The 
branch librarians called for a voice in the process, for a part in scheduling, 
supervision, and evaluation of custodians. 

The subcommittee is aware that their survey data were a sampling 
and that certain key people, custodians and their supervisors, have not been 
queried. Despite these limitations, the subcommittee draws its conclusions 
with "troubling observations" and "reasonable questions" about the state of 
branch library maintenance, both the process and the product. 

The subcommittee questions whether the maintenance process, as 
presently structured, can work well for anyone. They note the need for clear, 
consistent work standards for custodians, the involvement of branch librarians 
in the evaluation, and work incentives. They suggest further that "a more 
complete assessment be undertaken of the procedures established for 
maintaining our treasured buildings." They recommend that the Trustees 
engage professional, disinterested management consultants for such an 
assessment. 

The Examining Committee presented its report in the "hope that the 
constructive critique will be looked at closely. Throughout the process the 
goal of the Committee has been to examine and make recommendations for a 
library system that is Boston's pride and its citizens' joy." 



29 



BOSTON PUBLIC LIBRARY 



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