September 25, 2021

David Leonard Named President of the Boston Public Library

From The Boston Globe:

The Boston Public Library has named David Leonard as president four days after a California librarian declined to take the job.

David Leonard has been serving as interim president for nearly a year, after previous president Amy Ryan resigned last summer. Ryan came under fire after two pieces of art worth $630,000 temporarily went missing under her watch.

The library initially offered the job to Jill Bourne, who currently leads the San Jose city library system, after a nationwide presidential search. She accepted the position but changed her mind on Friday, citing “personal reasons that were not anticipated while I participated in this process.” After that, Leonard was offered the job.

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From the Official Boston Public Library Announcement

David Leonard has held the Interim President role at the BPL since July 2015 during which time he has overseen the $78 million renovation of the Central Library in Copley Square opening in July 2016 and branch improvement projects, including the groundbreaking and ongoing construction of the Jamaica Plain Branch. His work in the past year includes strengthening relationships with stakeholder groups such as the Boston Public Library Foundation, the Associates of the Boston Public Library, and The Norman B. Leventhal Map Center; overseeing management of the second phase of the Print Collection Inventory, an item-by-item inventory of the BPL’s prints and chromolithographs; environmental improvements and mold remediation in the Rare Books Department; and preparation for the BPL’s Special Collections Assessment, which includes compiling a master list and priority ranking of 800 collections set to be assessed and inventoried.

Prior to Leonard’s appointment in 2015, he was the Director of Administration and Technology (a position he still holds concurrently). In his seven years at the BPL, Leonard has also served at various times as both the acting Director of Administration & Finance and separately as acting Chief Financial Officer. He was first hired as the Chief Technology Officer in 2009. Leonard recently began a PhD program in Library Information Science at Simmons College.

Prior to the Boston Public Library, Leonard initially pursued an academic career, transitioned to the non-profit sector and then spent ten years in the private IT consulting world in roles that spanned business development, management, and technology consulting, working on both strategic and tactical projects and services. Leonard holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Philosophy and Mathematics and a Master’s Degree in Philosophy from the University College Dublin. He originally came to Boston for post graduate work in the Philosophy doctoral program at Boston College.

See Also:  Jill Bourne Turns Down Offer To Become Next President of Boston Public Library (June 10, 2016)

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.

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