Who are the Friends of the South End Library? The Friends of the South End Library, Inc., (FOSEL) is a neighborhood organization dedicated to the support and improvement of the South End library, its programs, and the adjoining Library Park. FOSEL has built on the efforts of many previous and current South End residents who have advocated and volunteered for the South End library and Library Park since it opened at its present location, on Tremont Street between Rutland Square and West Newton Street, in 1971.
In 2008, FOSEL became a charitable, non-profit under Section 501(C)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Its EIN is 26-2025971.
The current FOSEL board was elected at the Annual Meeting of the Members on January 31, 2017. The make-up of the voting board is officers Marleen Nienhuis (president); Barbara Sommerfeld (treasurer); Ed Hostetter (clerk/secretary), serving two-year terms; and directors Jeanne Pelletier; Marilyn Davilier; Maura Harrington; Jon Santiago; Kim Clark; and Michelle Laboy, serving one-year terms. The FOSEL advisory board includes Jacqueline McRath; Stephen Fox; Don Haber; Liane Crawford; Susanna Coit; Mary Owens; Lois Russell; Licia Sky; Anne Smart; and Karen Watson.
Our web master is P.K. Shiu. His contact information is linked here.
The board whose directors' terms expired in February 2017 consisted of officers Marleen Nienhuis (president); Barbara Sommerfeld (treasurer); Ed Hostetter (clerk); and directors Marilyn Davillier; Jeanne Pelletier; Michelle Laboy; Maura Harrington; and Jon Santiago.
The board whose members' terms expired in February 2016 consisted of officers Curtis Seborowski (president); Barbara Sommerfeld (treasurer); Marleen Nienhuis (clerk/secretary); and directors Mari Passananti and Adam Castiglione. The advisory board included Anne Smart, head librarian of the SE library; Mary Owens, graphic designer; Stephen Fox; chair of the Rutland Square Association, which is the official Parks Department Partner for Library Park; and P.K. Shiu. All are volunteers.
The 2010 FOSEL board was composed of Glyn Polson (president); Barbara Sommerfeld (treasurer); Adam Castiglione (clerk); and directors Courtney Fitzgerald, Anita Mercado, Deb Coletti, Rhys Sevier, and P.K. Shiu.
The first FOSEL board (2008) consisted of Marleen Nienhuis (president; Dana Dubreuil (treasurer); Anthony Woeltz (clerk); Lois Russell ( secretary); Ann Wilson Lloyd and Stephen Fox (both directors).
In the last eight years, FOSEL and its various board members have maintained and improved the physical appearances of the library and the park, and raised funds for its popular programming. Always on the agenda are the renovation of the park and the library's physical plant, projects which in 2016 are beginning to get traction with an energized board. Details to follow. Among the short-term projects, we have installed and planted tree pits around the library; swept, cleaned up, watered and planted sections of Library Park; refurbished and repaired the library's seating area; re-upholstered and repaired the staff's circulation counter; completed handicapped accessibility at the library by getting automatic door-openers installed; replaced unattractive signage for the South End branch with beautiful new signage on its Tremont Street side; refinished seven oak library tables; paid for carpet cleaning and window washing; and in 2016 repaired, refurbished and reinstalled the large drapes in the second-floor community room. Most recently, with the help of the Mayor's Office for Urban Mechanics, two colorful groundwater-regulating /solar-energy powered LightWell installations were placed in Library Park to provide a lively presence in the park at night and to promote sustainable water filtration and groundwater protection.
Library renovation plans: FOSEL has asked the BPL, the city's councilors and the Mayor's Office to support a five-phased proposal improve the library's space. The first phase would mostly reconfigure the adult area to create more diverse seating and to create a designated teen area. The second phase would move the circulation desk to the left of the entrance, use the former circulation location for new conference and seating arrangements, upgrades to staff work areas and upgrade the children's room. The third phase would open the library's adult room to a park patio, upgrade the upstairs community room, and create new study areas, South End history display cases, and more seating. The fourth and fifth phases would enclose the roof areas to expand interior space, create a cafe, and roof gardens. This will be a public process. The FOSEL board and the BPL's leadership have agreed to ask for Capital Funding of up to $150,000 for the FY 2018, and to begin the renovation process with the required Program Study for the South End branch and to commence an electrical upgrade and space reconfiguration of the downstairs area. FOSEL has agreed to raise an additional $50,000 privately toward this effort.
Library Park renovation plans: Library Park received $150,000 in FY2017 for a redesign and an upgrade to be determined. Talks are underway for a collaborative effort between the BPL and the Parks Department.
FOSEL has sponsored programming for children, teens, adults and seniors. These include the popular Easter Egg Hunt, the author series The South End Writes/The Library Invites; the Local/Focus Project to use the Tremont Street window(s) to showcase local artists, creative entrepreneurs, and non-profits within the mission of the library; the summer jazz concert series with Pat Loomis and Friends in Library Park; and the Holiday Party with Pat Loomis's band that also features a festive meal prepared by the husband of library staffer Carol Glass.
The FOSEL web site, at www.friendsofsouthendlibrary.org, reports on many of these library events. FOSEL's president, Marleen Nienhuis, attends most of the Boston Public Library trustees meetings, as does FOSEL advisory board member, Don Haber, himself one of the two co-presidents of the Friends of the Jamaica Plain Branch Library. Time permitting, the volunteer-managed web site regularly reports on developments of interest to the South End community.