New president selected for BPL

June 3, 2016
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The Boston Public Library Board of Trustees voted to extend an offer of employment for president of the Boston Public Library to Jill Bourne, city librarian for the San Jose Public Library, according to a press release.

The decision was made following public interviews of Bourne and David Leonard, interim president of the BPL, and deliberation amongst the trustees during a public meeting at the Central Library in Copley Square.

“Jill Bourne brings new ideas, innovation, and deep experience in urban libraries to the role – from working as a children’s librarian to managing a library system,” said Robert Gallery, chair of the BPL Board of Trustees, according to the press release. “The BPL is an important cultural asset in the City of Boston and a vital educational resource for residents of the city and the state, and we look forward to working with Jill to shape the future of this historic institution.”

David Leonard will continue to serve as interim president of the BPL until contractual details with the selected candidate are finalized.

The search for the next BPL president began in 2015 when a 14-member Presidential Search Committee was formed to locate, interview, and evaluate candidates for the position. The Search Committee held seven public listening sessions for the community to share their thoughts on what qualities they believe the next leader of the BPL should have in order to create the BPL president job description.

Executive search firm Spencer Stuart, contracted to assist with the search, contacted and reviewed approximately 215 individuals for the position. The field was ultimately narrowed down to Bourne, Leonard, and Andrea Saenz, first deputy commissioner for the Chicago Public Library, who withdrew for personal reasons.

Jill Bourne was appointed city librarian for the San Jose Public Library (SJPL) in 2013. Her first post in California was as deputy city librarian in San Francisco, which she held from 2006-2013. She has also held several positions at the Seattle Public Library over nine years – children’s librarian, youth materials selector, head of the Central Library, and assistant director for Public Services.

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