The Friends of the South End Library, Inc., (FOSEL) is a neighborhood organization dedicated to supporting the South End library, improving the physical appearances of the library and adjacent Library Park, and raising funds for programming created by FOSEL and/or requested by staff. 

About Us

FOSEL has built on the efforts of many previous and current South End residents who have advocated and volunteered since the branch 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.

What we do

FOSEL has sponsored programming it created for children, teens, adults and seniors, and initiatives requested by library staff. FOSEL-sponsored programs 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 & Blues 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 and FOSEL volunteers. 

Accomplished highlights

We have installed and planted tree pits around the library on Tremont and West Newton Streets; swept, cleaned up, watered and planted sections of Library Park and lobbied local nurseries (Mahoney's Garden Center and Urbgardens) to contribute their plantings and services, for free; 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 and repaired seven oak library tables; paid for carpet cleaning and window washing; and, in 2016 repaired, refurbished and reinstalled the fallen-down large drapes in the second-floor community room. Last year, with the help of the Mayor's Office for Urban Mechanics, two colorful groundwater-regulating /solar-energy powered LightWell installations created by the award-winning team of Fieldworkshop were placed in Library Park to provide a lively presence in the park at night and to promote sustainable water filtration and groundwater protection.

This year, the Parks Department will begin an overhaul and redesign of Library Park, for which $150,000 had been allocated two years ago by the Mayor's Office at the request of FOSEL. After deducting costs for design services, $115,000 will be spent on the initial improvements, details of which can be found at the Parks Department website, linked here.  Construction is supposed to start in March 2018 and be completed in late summer, all weather permitting...the traditional Boston cautionary tale.

Most recently, FOSEL has been able to obtain capital funding from the City of Boston and the BPL to begin a multi-phased renovation of the branch, to start with the two-phased interior renovation for FY 2018. (The exterior renovation/expansion will be a longer-term project that will commence with a one-year BPL-sponsored program study in the very near future, to be followed by a design study, to be followed by the funding of the project.) FOSEL has successfully supplemented the $132,000 BPL allocation with $50,000 in private funds raised from our board and the South End community; we exceeded our goal by about $20,000. These funds will be applied to the second-phase fundraising effort, the estimate for which depends on final cost estimates for the interior changes by the BPL. We expect there will be another capital appropriation by the city in FY 2019 so we can complete to overhaul of the library's downstairs interior and turn it into a state-of-the-art branch that provides modern the library services the South End community deserves. 

Board of Directors


President: Marleen Nienhuis
(2 Yr term - expires Jan. 2018)
Treasurer: Barbara Sommerfeld
(2 Yr term - expires Jan. 2018)
Acting Clerk/Secretary: Kim Clark
(2 Yr term - expires Jan. 2018)

(1 Yr term - expires Jan. 2018)
Marilyn Davilier
Maura Harrington
Michelle Laboy
Jon Santiago

Advisory Board

Susanna Coit
Liane Crawford
Stephen Fox
Don Haber

Ed Hostetter
Jacqueline McRath
Lois Russell
Licia Sky
Anne Smart
Karen Watson

Annual Meeting

Tuesday, January 30, 2018 at 6:30 PM