Intense Media Focus on Libraries Fuels Long-Missing Debate on BPL's Future

The proposed closing of up to ten neighborhood libraries in Boston has awakened the local media to a third rail in Boston politics. It is called: Don't Touch My Library Before Asking. If anyone still wonders why the world needs newspapers as well as electronic media, here's the answer. The Boston Globe's wall-to-wall coverage, in its on-the-spot reporting, on-line edition, editorials, columns and op-ed writing, has broken open a debate about the BPL's future in all Boston media that SHOULD have been the first responsibility of the Boston Public Library but, sadly, never was. Aren't we lucky? You could have just found your library closed one day and never known what happened. A BPL flyer maybe, or an email.. Last week's coverage ranged far and wide: on Monday, the Globe's editorial suggested that the "New Vault," a recently formed group of 14 business executives to improve conditions for local business ventures, gave hope

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for a new era of civic leadership. "If the partnership can provide contributions to help preserve important services such as libraries and jobs for teenagers, (FOSEL emphasis) its presence will be even more welcome," the editors said. Click here. In addition, several articles reported on libraries outside of Boston: one described a teenager's efforts to raise funds for a de-certified library in Hull, MA. Click here. Another detailed how the main library in San Fransisco became the first library in the nation to hire a social worker to deal with the many homeless who, like everyone else, are entitled to library use but may need special assistance. Click here. A partial list of other coverage follows. Please let us know about links to your media outlets and their coverage of the Boston Public Library funding crisis. They will be posted here, as well: WGBH's Emily Rooney interviews Krista McLeod, legislative liaison for the Massachusetts Library Association, and Marleen Nienhuis, president of the Friends of the South End Library, on Rooney's midday radio show, March 9. Click here. The Boston Globe's Andrew Ryan describes proposed rankings to be used by the BPL in determining which neighborhood libraries will be closed. Click here. Vivid quotes and a colorful report by Andrew Ryan on the raucous March 9 meeting of the BPL trustees at Copley Library. March 10. Click here. An excellent radio show on library closings on WBUR's Friday show, About Boston, featuring a comparison with Providence, R.I.'s library system. March 12. Click here. Adrian Walker's Friday column in the Globe on the March 9 meeting, quoting a former Walpole inmate saying, "I may have robbed banks but I've never burned a book." March 12. Click here. An Op-Ed article by former Boston Globe editorial-page editor Renee Loth, revealing that as early as 2006, well before the current economic melt-down, Mayor Menino told the Globe's editorial board, "We have too many branches." March 13. Click here. Coverage by Boston Globe reporter Donovan Slack on the Saturday rally organized by the Egleston Library Friends in Roxbury, where David Vieira, President of the City-Wide Friends of the Boston Public Library, called for a Prop. 2 1/2 override initiative to fund libraries. Click here. A Boston Herald report by Colneth Smiley Jr. on the same event. March 14. Click here.