Boston Chooses Amy E. Ryan for Library President

August 15, 2008

The board of the Boston Public Library offered the job of president to Hennepin County (Minn.) Library Director Amy E. Ryan August 14 after interviewing four finalists selected from a pool of more than 160. Trustees cited her extensive knowledge of big-city library systems, management style, understanding of technology, and commitment to community libraries. Ryan will succeed outgoing President Bernard Margolis, who was ousted by the board November 13, 2007, in the wake of repeated clashes with Mayor Thomas M. Menino.

“Strong leadership of our historic library system is crucial in creating a continuum of learning in our city,” Menino said in an August 15 BPL press release. “I trust Amy Ryan will bring the skills necessary to make our libraries work for everyone.”

Ryan, who has served as Hennepin director since 2005 and worked at various positions in the Minneapolis Public Library for 28 years before that, was chosen unanimously over others in the shortlist of candidates—California State Librarian Susan Hildreth, former Greenwich (Conn.) Public Library Director Mario Gonzalez, and attorney and former Massachusetts Senate President Thomas F. Birmingham.

The BPL position is “too compelling an opportunity not to explore,” Ryan said in the August 15 Boston Globe. She added that both her parents were from Boston and a daughter attends college in the area.

Ryan was integral to the January 2 merger of the Hennepin and Minneapolis library systems. “I hate to lose her, but she needs to do what she needs to do,” Hennepin County Commissioner Mark Stenglein told the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. “I think it’s a compliment to the Hennepin County system that they’re interested.”

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