At Thursday's City Hall Plaza rally preceding the library budget hearing before the City Council, several members of the Boston State Delegation loudly protested the proposed closings of four neighborhood libraries and the layoffs of dozens of library employees. They included South End Rep. Byron Rushing, who was joined by Reps. Linda Dorcena Forry and Gloria Fox under the threatening skies of a late-spring thunderstorm. "The words above the Boston Public Library, FREE FOR ALL, are carved in stone," Rushing reminded a cheering audience of hundreds. "In granite, in fact. That is because they knew then that some day there would be a group of trustees like those we have now." Rushing referred to the BPL trustees who last month voted to close four libraries in some of the poorest neighborhoods, including Washington Village, Lower Mills, Faneuil and Orient Heights.
He reminded the rally's supporters that the library in his district, the South End Library, was not on the list to be closed. "And that is why I am here," he said. "Because this is a test."
Rushing agreed with an earlier speaker, a grade school student and library user from Brighton, who had told the audience just minutes earlier, "if they are going to close four libraries now, they will close another hundred later."
"He's right," Rushing said. "That's why we are here. This is a test."