Boston Public Library President Candidate Turns Down Post

Jill Bourne turned down the position for 'personal reasons.'

boston public library

Photo by Meredith Foley

A high profile pick to be the next president of the Boston Public Library has turned down the position, citing personal reasons. Jill Bourne, who is the city librarian in San Jose, had been offered the position a few weeks ago, but after several weeks of negotiations ended up turning the position down.

Bob Gallery, chairman of the board of trustees, told the Boston Globe, “We’ve had ongoing discussions with Jill over the last three weeks now. Ultimately, it was a decision she had to make due to circumstances in her life.”

According the Globe, Bourne was picked in part due to “creative fund-raising chops and a commitment to diversity.” She had also coordinated partnerships in San Jose with various tech companies, which was surely a draw for startup-heavy Boston.

In a statement from the BPL, Bourne said, “I am extremely honored to have been offered the position of President of the Boston Public Library.  The institution, staff, and community support all attracted me to this position, as much as the city, its leadership, and the exciting things that are happening there…However, I have made the decision to withdraw my candidacy for personal reasons that were not anticipated while I participated in this process. This has been an incredibly difficult decision, and I greatly appreciate the patience and support of the Mayor’s office, the BPL Board of Trustees, and others.  While I cannot accept this opportunity, I am fortunate to stay in San José with a wonderful staff, colleagues, and community.”

The library has been looking for a new leader ever since the abrupt resignation of Amy E Ryan, who left after two expensive pieces of art at the library went missing (they were later recovered). David Leonard has been serving as interim president, and was one of the final two candidates alongside Bourne. The release from the library indicates that he may now be considered for the position again. The trustees will hold a meeting on Tuesday, June 14 at 8:30 a.m. to pick a new leader.