After two years of intense lobbying on behalf of the South End Library and its local user base, FOSEL's six-member board will step down tomorrow so a new group of South End residents can take up the baton. FOSEL was formed as a 501c3 in 2008 to advocate at the local, city and state level for improved library services and resources, and to ensure the well-being of Library Park. The charitable non-profit built on three decades of informal volunteer efforts by previous South End residents who fought for funding, enrichment and, occasionally, the very survival of the South End Library, which opened at its current location in 1971. The Annual Meeting will take place Tuesday, May 4, at 6:30 PM at the South End Library. The public is invited.
The FOSEL board, which consists of Marleen Nienhuis, Anthony Woeltz, Dana Dubreuil, Ann Wilson Lloyd, Stephen Fox and Lois Russell, has advocated to the BPL and the Mayor's Office for several years to do an in-depth assessment of the South End's current need for library services, and to unify the park and library visually and functionally. The 501C3 was created to raise public and private funds for the recommendations produced by the assessment, a proposal for which had been solicited by the BPL from a private firm in 2007. Despite pledges by the Mayor's Office and the BPL to fund the assessment, it never was. After the appointment of BPL president Amy Ryan, the long-term goal for an improved South End Library was set aside to battle for the very survival of the branch. Now that the library will remain open for the near future, the incoming board will bring its talents and expertise to advocate for South End library users and to encourage a public debate and public participation in the process.
The FOSEL officers (president, vice-president, treasurer, and clerk) have two-year terms, and the directors (board members who are not officers) have one-year terms, all renewable. In addition, FOSEL has had a board of non-voting advisors, some of whom would like to stay on while others have decided to remain Friends, but no longer be advisors. The nominees, once elected, will decide who else they might need as advisors, as well as which other voting board members they might like to attract for their board initiatives.
The eight nominees are:
Adam Castiglioni, who grew up in Arlington where his father was a library trustee. He lives in the Hurley Block neighborhood. Adam is a concierge at the Sheraton Hotel and serves a the vice-president of public relations for the Greater Boston Concierge Association. An active user of the South End Library, he maintains a blog on the hospitality industry in Boston. Adam has been nominated as a director and clerk of FOSEL.
Deborah Coletti, is currently the vice-president of advancement at United South End Settlements, an important neighborhood institution since 1891, committed to building community and opportunity for residents. A resident of Haverill, she has been active in that town's library's renovation and public schools, Deborah brings fundraising expertise and organizational development to the board. She has run several capital campaigns and specializes in building new donor bases. She has been married for 34 years and is the parent of three and grandparent of one.
Courtney Fitzgerald is on the board of the Claremont Neighborhood Association and brings love of books and community development to the board. The mother of a two-year-old, she regularly attends story hour and actively uses the library's on-line services. Courtney has created the library's discount-coupon-swap-club.
Rhys Sevier is a professional librarian and mother of two young children, one of whom is in pre-school at USES, while the other will enter the Hurley School's Kindergarten this fall. She lives with her family in Rollins Square and has been a volunteer at the library in a cataloguing project. Rhys worked for nine years as a corporate librarian in Boston, and has been nominated as vice-president and director.
P.K. Shiu grew up in Hong Kong and England. He has lived in the Old Dover neighborhood for the last seven years, where he works as a software consultant. He is on the board of the Friends of Peter's Park and has donated web expertise to develop web sites for several community organizations, including FOSEL. Married with two children, P.K. wants to focus on programming for children and, given the growing Asian population in the neighborhood, would like to bring in more Asian cultural programming. Another interest is to use technology to connect the library with more South End residents and beyond. P.K. has been nominated for vice-president and director.
Barbara Sommerfeld has lived on Concord Street for forty years and raised two sons there. She has a long familiarity with the library and a background in business. Now retired, Barbara has an MBA, and worked on the business side of non-profits for 30 years. Her experience in budget forecasting, accounting, and finance brings important expertise to the treasurer's position, for which she has been nominated. Barbara has attended many of the BPL trustees' and City Council meetings as part of the campaign to Save Our Libraries.
Anita Mercado, a social worker by training, has been the director of community empowerment programs at another prominent South End institution, IBA, Inquilinos Boricuas en Accion, for four years. Born in Mayaguez, Puerto Rico, she is interested in involving IBA and other community organizations with the library. For the last few years, Anita has translated many of the FOSEL flyers and brochures into Spanish.
Glyn Polson, who has agreed to be nominated as president and director of FOSEL, is an attorney with a broad range of experience in law, including employment, civil and criminal law and worked as a management consultant in the communications industry. Glyn lives with his wife Kathy and two young daughters in the Pilot Block neighborhood and is an active user of the library. He is interested in helping to develop strong programming that will increase usage at the library.