Long-time State Representative from the South End, Byron Rushing, who excoriated the BPL's board of trustees early this year for their "awful job" of advocating for the BPL at the State Legislature, was appointed library trustee yesterday. The erudite Rushing, who spent many years in an unfortunate basement office during the legislative reign of Thomas Finneran but was finally placed in a more dignified location as Second Assistant Majority Leader on Beacon Hill when Governor Deval Patrick came into office, is an interesting choice to fill the remaining vacancy on the nine-member board of trustees. He is as strongly identified with Roxbury and the South End as another recently appointed trustee, Paul La Camera has identified himself with East Boston. While theoretically trustees represent all of Boston library constituencies, and are not elected or appointed based on geographic or regional advocacy, that began to change when trustee Paul La Camera refused to cast his vote to close libraries until Mayor Menino pledged to advance already-existing plans for a new library in East Boston. La Camera then voted to abstain, but the motion to close four branches passed. Since that time, La Camera has steadily pushed along the East Boston Library project, which is close to finalizing its site and choice of architects. In the process, the East Boston Library project has leap-frogged over other library projects, including a long-standing one for the renovation of the Jamaica Plain library.
Rep. Rushing was one of a dozen or so South End elected representatives who showed up at a heavily attended meeting at the South End Library this spring (see Save Our Libraries) and pledged support to keep all Boston's neighborhood libraries open.