January 24, 2022

Boston Public Library Selects San Jose City Librarian Jill Bourne as New President

UPDATE May 24, 2016

San Jose: City Leaders Push To Keep Library Director Jill Bourne After Boston Job Offer (via Mercury News)

But [Jill] Bourne isn’t packing her bags just yet. She hasn’t decided if she’ll accept the job, though she said it’s “a huge honor” the trustees chose her as president.


Although the trustees voted to “extend” a job offer to Bourne, she hasn’t seen the terms of the offer or a contract. She said she’ll make a decision when she sees those details.

Meanwhile, city officials here are hoping to convince Bourne to stay.

“I’ve asked her to please stay and continue the good work,” said City Manager Norberto Dueñas. “I’m hearing from people saying we have to do whatever we can to make sure she stays.”



From the Boston Public Library:

Today, the Boston Public Library Board of Trustees voted to extend an offer of employment for President of the Boston Public Library to Jill Bourne, City Librarian for the San Jose Public Library. The decision was made following public interviews of Bourne and David Leonard, Interim President of the BPL, and deliberation amongst the Trustees during a public meeting at the Central Library in Copley Square. A third finalist candidate, Andrea Sáenz, First Deputy Commissioner for the Chicago Public Library, withdrew from the interview process for personal reasons.

“During this time of deep transformation for libraries, having a president who has vision, is a strong manager, and an outstanding leader is necessary to ensuring the Boston Public Library remains one of the top urban library systems in the country,” said Mayor Walsh. “I applaud the Board of Trustees for their work in making this difficult decision between highly qualified candidates; and thank the Presidential Search Committee who volunteered their time to vet and interview numerous candidates.”

“On behalf of the Trustees of the Boston Public Library, it has been an honor to have had the opportunity to interview these talented individuals, and to select the next leader of the BPL. Jill Bourne brings new ideas, innovation, and deep experience in urban libraries to the role – from working as a children’s librarian to managing a library system,” said Robert Gallery, Chair of the BPL Board of Trustees. “The BPL is an important cultural asset in the City of Boston and a vital educational resource for residents of the city and the state, and we look forward to working with Jill to shape the future of this historic institution.”

David Leonard will continue to serve as Interim President of the BPL until contractual details with the selected candidate are finalized.


Executive search firm Spencer Stuart, contracted to assist with the search, contacted and reviewed approximately 215 individuals for the position, presenting 30 qualified prospects to the BPL Presidential Search Committee for evaluation. Of these, 25 candidates were approached by the BPL Presidential Search Committee, and seven had face to face interviews, narrowing down the field to three finalist candidates, including: Jill Bourne, City Librarian for the San José Public Library; David Leonard, Interim President of the Boston Public Library; and Andrea Sáenz, First Deputy Commissioner for the Chicago Public Library, who withdrew.


Bourne’s first post in California was as Deputy City Librarian in San Francisco, which she held from 2006-2013. She began her professional career at the Seattle Public Library where she held several positions over nine years – children’s librarian, youth materials selector, head of the Central Library, and, finally, Assistant Director for Public Services.

Bourne holds a bachelor’s degree in English from New York University and a master’s in Library and Information Science from the University of Washington.

Read the Complete Announcement


About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) 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 Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.