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BPL head announces resignation after tense meeting over missing stuff

Amy Ryan

Boston Public Library President Amy Ryan announced her resignation today, hours after a library trustees meeting at which an aide to the mayor accused her and the library of not doing enough to protect valuable holdings, such as prints recently reported missing from the central library.

Ryan, who came to Boston from Minnesota eight years ago, is stepping down effective July 3. In a statement, she said:

I am choosing to step aside at this time to allow the work of the Boston Public Library to continue without distraction.

It has been a tremendous honor to serve as President of the Boston Public Library. Together with our library team and the people of Boston, we can be proud of our daily dedication to public service; new and revitalized libraries in Mattapan, Dorchester, East Boston, and Copley Square; a community-driven plan for the future, our Compass; leadership in digital services; and our preeminent collections of distinction.

I deeply appreciate the support shown to me by the Boston Public Library Board of Trustees throughout my tenure. The Trustees are a committed and faithful group of leaders who embody the mission of a public library built by the people and dedicated to the advancement of learning.

I believe as strongly in the mission of the Boston Public Library today as when I arrived from Minnesota nearly eight years ago. I am honored to have contributed to the success of a public library system that is truly free to all and unswervingly committed to serving people of all ages and from all walks of life throughout the City of Boston and the Commonwealth.

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Comments

The theft of priceless treasures and books is a lot worse than the public has been led to believe.

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another interpretation is that someone's nephew or campaign contributor wants the job

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Look who's taking the fall for the security system being the one City Hall funded.

Those who have worked in special collections before will know that sometimes stuff goes missing for a bit every once and a while. Hopefully that's the case here.

We'll see who's the replacement.

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Who made the actual choice?

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Funding a fancier security system could have prevented, say, Danny Ocean from slipping into the vault and making away with loot. But the lack of an inventory of valuable items points to disorganization and apathy, and not more expensive locks, as the main problem.

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Again, if you'd had any experience in the subject, you'd know this isn't unusual. Three weeks ago, for example, I listened to the man in charge of digitization efforts at the Bibliothèque Nationale de France in Paris state that the library has no idea exactly how many manuscripts it actually has. They only know the total works out to about 50km of shelving.

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After closing research departments and branches, decimating the collection, causing lay-offs and "bumping", which was catastrophic to both the lives of library workers and the level of service patrons were able to receive, all while making $192 Gs a year, oh and living in the Parker House on the city's dime, but then paying her landlord, a retired library employee to provide "consulting services" I Can't be the only one singing, all together now...Na na na na, a na na na, hey hey hey, GOODBYE!!!!

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[citation needed]

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Not only that, but they take rare and out of print books off the shelves and sell them to private sellers. Not sure how they get away with that since this is supposed to be a PUBLIC library.

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There's never been a national economic study on our country's public libraries by an impartial group.

The biased studies by publishers and the biased studies by librarians have skewed statistics. We've studies on secondary education, colleges/universities , elementary education but not our public libraries across the country and their role vis a vis the other institutions. Such a national economic study would be done by folks with great expertise in developing statistical analyses and using methods such as system dynamics
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/System_dynamics

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Shouldn't this art have been prominently hung in a gallery somewhere?....instead of being tossed and forgotten in storage much like my father did with his Playboys...

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Typically exhibited only for short periods of time in galleries with low lighting levels.

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Photonics is the main reason all this stuff is not on display. Someone senior in the city (like the mayor) just needs to come up with a plan or initiative to create gallery space.

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We are clearing out all the books...
“Guy Noir Visits the New York Public Library.”
Garrison Keillor and the staff of A Prairie Home Companion 7 April 2012
http://prairiehome.publicradio.org/programs/2012/04/07/scripts/noir.shtml

By Scott Sherman
Patience and Fortitude
http://www.worldcat.org/title/patience-and-fortitude-power-real-estate-a...

http://www.thenation.com/article/164881/upheaval-new-york-public-library...
http://www.mhpbooks.com/video-scott-sherman-describes-the-story-behind-h...

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Amy Ryan had the full support of her board, and seemed to be doing a great job. The new children's room at the main branch is fantastic - a really wonderful place for the kids of this city. If I've read the reports correctly, the art went missing *before* she even worked for BPL.

Does the Mayor not see any irony in his statements?

"Still, he said he was troubled that Ryan was unaware that her staff knew the artwork was missing for nearly a year before telling her.

“Ultimately it falls on the leader,” Walsh said. “You’re supposed to have faith and trust in the team you have around you.”"

Er, isn't he the leader? By his logic, should we not be troubled by the fact that he did not know for a year???

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Extremely valuable art went missing between April and June 2014, and the staff didn't feel it was necessary to raise an alarm until almost a year later? Or, at least that's what we're hearing. Did someone actually keep this news from the big boss, or was Ryan simply hoping that the work would show up before word got out about its disappearance? In that case she's throwing her staff under the bus.

If the former happened, then a big part of the problem is a workplace culture that considers this acceptable behavior. Some staff must have known about the losses and been uncomfortable keeping quiet. If the latter happened, then Ryan's ability to lead has been severely compromised by her own actions.

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Who might be a potential new Head for our Boston Public Library!?... Nicolas Chamfort is dead.
https://www.ischool.utexas.edu/~lcr/archive/fulltext/LandC_34_4_Oliver.pdf

How did they get the Head of New York Public Library?...
http://www.nypl.org/help/about-nypl/president-and-leadership

Look for a leader to setup a Teaching Library program at Boston Public Library like the Teaching Hospitals' programs do for their fields. A leader to setup an affordable library and information studies program at Northeastern University and on site at BPL using the case method of study as done at Harvard Business School.

Not folks with the limited background of hidebound Simmons College too didactic Library and Information Science overpriced programs that have too little financial assistance compared to, for example graduates of University at Albany Information Studies programs. Simmons continues to fail at collaborating with neighboring universities like the MIT artificial intelligence programs, MIT Media Lab and related advanced computer programs at the other neighboring universities.

Solving the problematical predicament of BPL would begin by providing better resources for front line BPL staff and thus for library users. Another idea... a Guide to Problematical Boston Public Library Use !

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