May 28, 2022

Massachusetts: Audit Faults Security at Boston Public Library

UPDATE May 30 9am Eastern The Boston Public Library Board Of Trustees Will Hold a Special Meeting on Wednesday, June 3, 2015. From BPL:

The meeting will include a report on investigations into the missing Albrecht Dürer engraving and Rembrandt etching, the external BPL Operational and Financial Assessment by Chrysalis Management, LLC [linked below], the BPL’s system-wide safety and security, and BPL collections management.

UPDATE May 29 8am Eastern Full Text of Boston Public Library Audit Report (106 pages; PDF)
This is the city-commissioned audit that was reported on earlier this week. The Boston Herald has made the full text available online.

UPDATE May 28 10pm Eastern Listen: Boston Public Library Story Discussed on Public Radio

UPDATE May 28 2pm Eastern Boston Public Library president vows to increase security (via Boston Globe)

UPDATE May 27 7pm Eastern Boston mayor says too early to say BPL president has his full support (via Fox Boston)

From The Boston Globe:

The Boston Public Library, where two valuable pieces of artwork disappeared, inadequately protects its special collections from theft, haphazardly stores some of its most valuable items, and does not keep a complete inventory of its prized objects, according to a city-commissioned audit obtained by The Boston Globe.

“Current estimates for holdings are [in most categories] guesses made many years ago that have been adjusted with newer guesses along the way,” according to the audit of the library’s operations and finances by Chrysalis Management. The assessment was launched in December and commissioned by Mayor Martin J. Walsh.


The report, dated May 1 and provided to the Boston Finance Commission on Tuesday, found that the library’s Special Collections, which includes the print collection where the artwork valued at more than $600,000 went missing, is not well managed.

Jeffrey Rudman, chairman of the library’s board of trustees, said Tuesday night in a phone interview that he had not yet read the audit, but that the trustees plan to meet to discuss its findings, “among other topics.”


The report credited the BPL with a number of accomplishments, including providing a breadth of services, having a strong digital team, marketing its collections of distinction, and successfully executing major construction projects.

However, it also recommended 10 high-priority improvement opportunities, which included inventory management, union cooperation, prioritization and accountability, employee performance management, and fund-raising.

Read the Complete Article (approx. 1170 Words)

See Also: Massachusetts: Rembrandt, Dürer Works Valued at More than $600,000 Missing from Boston Public Library

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.