The Boston Public Library Comes Unbound

Generally, if there’s a controversy to be found at the public library, it’s happening in one of the books in its collection. Aside from responding to the occasional barb, the staff at the library goes about their business without much distraction.

But now that Bernard Margolis has left the building, some drama is unfolding at the Boston Public Library.

The former BPL president awesomely called Mayor Tom Menino an anti-intellectual dictator after his ouster late last year. Margolis also accused the mayor of asking him to give people jobs at the library in return for political favors.

In yesterday’s Globe, we learned that may have only been the beginning of Menino’s involvement in the library’s HR moves. The paper reports that three of the board members who voted for Margolis’ removal had business with the city and failed to disclose their connections.

So, maybe Margolis wasn’t just spewing bile after he’d been canned. And, what if the board of trustees decides to hire ex-Senate president Tom Birmingham as the next library president? Birmingham doesn’t have much library experience, and critics worry that he won’t be committed to saving the library’s collection of rare books.

With intrigue like this, who needs to bother reading this summer?

The Race to Save the Rare Books