Arts, Culture, and Humanities

Associates of the Boston Public Library, Inc.

  • Boston, MA
  • www.TheAssociates.org

Mission Statement

The Associates of the Boston Public Library is an independent non-profit organization dedicated to conserving the Boston Public Library's Special Collections of rare books, manuscripts, prints and drawings, musical scores, works of art, and items of significant historic interest. Our mission is to ensure continued public access to these irreplaceable treasures by underwriting their cataloging, repair, restoration, digitization, and exhibition.

Main Programs

  1. Conservation & Digitization Program
  2. Writer-in-Residence Program
  3. Literary Lights for Children
  4. 100-Year Retroactive Book Award
Service Areas

Self-reported

Massachusetts

The Boston Public Library's Special Collections are housed in the Central Library in Copley Square. However, all Massachusetts residents have access to the BPL's treasures, and scholars from other parts of the country and the World have also studied at the BPL.

ruling year

1986

Principal Officer since 2011

Self-reported

Ms. Louisa D. Stephens

Keywords

Self-reported

Conservation, Preservation, Digitization, Library, Literary Lights

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EIN

04-2900822

 Number

0962361568

Contact

Cause Area (NTEE Code)

Historical Societies and Related Activities (A80)

Libraries, Library Science (B70)

Single Organization Support (V11)

IRS Filing Requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

Programs + Results

How does this organization make a difference?

Overview

Self-reported by organization

CATALOGING: The Associates funds staff to catalog the BPL's Special Collections-- a critical first step in the conservation process that creates an organized collection of bibliographic items, facilitating their identification, location, access, and use. This year we cataloged thousands of letters written by prominent American abolitionists and pioneers of the American Revolution.CONSERVATION: We fund supplemental staff to perform in-house conservation work. Among the many items repaired and preserved for posterity are - Chronique Universelle, The Nuremberg Chronicle, President John Adams' personal atlas, as well as a 10th century Lectionary (reputed to be the oldest book in Boston). We also fund the outsourcing of materials in those cases where items need specialized treatment by experts.DIGITIZATION: We fund the digital imaging of items to make them available, free of charge, to anyone in the world with an Internet connection. Since July 2010, nearly 33,000 items have been scanned and made available online, inspiring over 4,000,000 page views. EXHIBITIONS: Programs funded by the Associates showcase treasures from the Special Collections, so that the public can learn more about the Library's diverse holdings. Last year, in honor of the American Civil War's sesquicentennial, we funded ""The Home Front,"" an exhibition commemorating the roles played by ten prominent Bostonians in the Union effort. (For details see:http://www.bpl.org/exhibitions/past-exhibitions/home-front/)PROGRAMMING: We also sponsor programs (including Literary Lights and Literary Lights for Children), designed to promote appreciation of the written word, draw public attention to the Library's most important holdings, and heighten awareness of the BPL as a unique educational resource. We believe that these efforts are valuable adjuncts to our conservation initiatives. Every program we underwrite is focused on one central goal—to expand and strengthen the base of support for the BPL.

Programs

Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Program 1

Conservation & Digitization Program

The Boston Public Library is considered one of the top five libraries in the country because of the breadth and depth of its collections. These include more than a million manuscripts, 500,000 rare books, 750,000 prints, drawings and photographs, 700,000 architectural drawings, and the 3,500 volume personal library of President John Adams. The Associates is dedicated to caring for these irreplaceable treasures by underwriting their cataloging, repair, restoration, digitization, and exhibition. The David McCullough Conservation Fund was established in 2001 to provide a consistent source of funding for the conservation and digitization of books, manuscripts, works of art and historic documents in the Library's Special Collections. The Fund is named after Pulitzer Prize winning author David McCullough, who during his tenure as a BPL Trustee, championed more aggressive conservation of the Library's many irreplaceable historic treasures.

Category

Arts, Culture & Humanities, General/Other

Population(s) Served

Adults

College Aged (18-26 years)

Aging/Elderly/Senior Citizens

Budget

$200,000.00

Program 2

Writer-in-Residence Program

The Children's Writer-in-Residence Program is an annual competition for emerging authors. The winner receives a stipend and office space within the Boston Public Library's Central Library in Copley Square. The program is intended to: 1) Provide an emerging children's writer with the financial support and office space needed to complete one literary work; 2) Promote the awareness of young readers, families and teachers of the Boston Public Library and its resources, by establishing a living link between the Library and the community; and 3) Draw attention to the importance of writers and writing in our culture, as well as the many free educational opportunities offered by the Boston Public Library. For more details visit: http://www.writer-in-residence.org/

Category

Arts, Culture & Humanities, General/Other

Population(s) Served

Adults

General Public/Unspecified

Children and Youth (0 - 19 years)

Budget

$25,000.00

Program 3

Literary Lights for Children

Every fall, the Associates hosts its Literary Lights for Children tea party in the Bates Hall Reading Room of the Boston Public Library. During this event, students selected from Boston area schools introduce and present awards to four outstanding children's writers. The honorees then discuss their writing careers and share their love of books with the audience of over 350 children and adults. Immediately following the tea party, there is a book signing session. The 2012 honorees are Kevin Hawkes, Christopher Paolini, Mitali Perkins, and Gary Schmidt. Although this program raises money, the Associates also gives away more than 100 tickets to students who would otherwise be unable to attend the event. For more details, please see:www.literarylightsforchildren.org.

Category

Youth Development, General/Other

Population(s) Served

Children Only (5 - 14 years)

Children and Youth (infants - 19 years.)

Other Named Groups

Budget

$31,000.00

Program 4

100-Year Retroactive Book Award

Each year, as part of its annual meeting, The Associates conducts a Hundred-Year Retroactive Book Award competition. This send-up of literary pretension pits three local authors against one another, in a panel discussion of the comparative literary merits of books published one hundred years ago. During the 100-Year Retroactive Book Award of 1911, inventor Ray Kurzweil defended the Tom Swift series; comedian Jimmy Tingle made a case for The Devil's Dictionary by Ambrose Bierce, and novelist Stona Fitch defended The Boy Scout Handbook. Christopher Lydon, host of "Open Source," at Brown University's Watson Institute, moderated the irreverent debate, after which the audience voted to determine the winner of the Book Award of 1911. A reception with the panelists followed. In 2002, a contest in which poet Erica Funhouser, defending Owen Wister's The Virginian, won after facing off against Harvard theologian Harvey Cox and Steven Pinker, was broadcast on C-span.

Category

Arts, Culture & Humanities, General/Other

Population(s) Served

Adults

Aging/Elderly/Senior Citizens

College Aged (18-26 years)

Budget

$5,000.00

Service Areas

Self-reported

Massachusetts

The Boston Public Library's Special Collections are housed in the Central Library in Copley Square. However, all Massachusetts residents have access to the BPL's treasures, and scholars from other parts of the country and the World have also studied at the BPL.

Funding Needs

We are seeking funding for the following key areas, which will help us to achieve our mission to preserve and promote the BPL's Special Collections:CONSERVATION: Repairing treasures in the Special Collections will ensure they are avaliable for future generations.CATALOGING: Cataloging ensures that the materials can be found by scholars and the general public, and increases access. DIGITIZATION: Digitization capture items in the Special Collections accurately via the latest digital technologies—reducing handling, facilitating management, and ensuring long-term survival. Digitization also allows us to effectively share singular, rare, and fragile works efficiently with the world. EXHIBITIONS: Exhibitions ensure increased and continuing public access to the fascinating and irreplaceable treasures in the BPL Special Collections. Priorities in this area include the creation of designated exhibitions fund and hiring of staff to create thematic or era-specific exhibitions that draw from the Special Collections. UNRESTRICTED: Unrestricted current use and endowment funds will provide the Associates with the flexibility to undertake new projects and to broaden our support of the BPL's Special Collections.

Accreditations

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Financials

Financial information is an important part of gauging the short- and long-term health of the organization.

ASSOCIATES OF THE BOSTON PUBLIC LIBRARY
Fiscal year: Jul 01-Jun 30
Yes, financials were audited by an independent accountant.

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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

Associates of the Boston Public Library, Inc.

Leadership

NEED MORE INFO ON THIS NONPROFIT?

Free: Gain immediate access to the following:
  • Address, phone, website and contact information
  • Forms 990 for 2015, 2015 and 2014
  • Board Chair, Board Co-Chair and Board Members
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Principal Officer

Ms. Louisa D. Stephens

BIO

Prior to starting her position with the Associates of the Boston Public Library, Louisa Stephens worked for United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley, and PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP in Boston and Australia. A magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Union College, she holds a BA in Managerial Economics, as well as a Certificate in Non-Profit Management from Northeastern University. She was also the recipient of an international fellowship from the Thomas J. Watson Foundation. Stephens currently serves on the Board of the Foundation for Boston Centers for Youth & Families (BCYF); on the Junior League of Boston's Finance Council; is a member of the Boston Photography Center; and volunteers at Excel Academy Charter School in East Boston.

STATEMENT FROM THE Principal Officer

"Here are just some of the reasons why there is a pressing need for funding:Priceless Materials Are in Jeopardy The founders of the Library and their successors, who enthusiastically collected and donated materials over many years, could not possibly have imagined the resources needed to maintain BPL's most important holdings. As a result, there is now a backlog of work—cleaning, cataloging, repairing, storing, and digitizing of vulnerable materials—that needs to be done if the Special Collections are to remain, as they must, accessible to the public. New funding will enable the Library to expand and accelerate its conservation efforts—preserving vulnerable items that could be lost forever. Funding from the Public Sector Is Limited Many Bostonians assume that all of the critical work of the BPL, including conservation, is funded exclusively by the city, state, or other public sector sources. This is not the case. The Associates supplements limited public sector funding with essential private funds that pay for additional work, supplies, equipment, and treatments that are needed daily to conserve our cultural heritage. Without these private funds, hundreds of rare and important items in the BPL would not receive the conservation treatment that they need. New funding will help build the David McCullough Conservation Fund, established by the Associates in 2001, to serve as a vital private-sector resource for the BPL's conservation efforts. Demand for Access Is at an All-Time High The Boston Public Library, the first publicly supported municipal library in the United States, is one of the major public research libraries in the U.S.—and one of the most frequently used libraries in the nation. The diversity and depth of its collections, unique among public libraries, have made the BPL a valued educational and cultural resource among scholars, authors, students, and people of all ages. The BPL is a repository of our shared heritage, one that all Americans should be able to explore. Access to these primary source materials, whether in person or virtually, expands their educational value and impact exponentially. Using them for research increases the possibilities of true scholarship. Digitization reduces the need to handle fragile materials and extends their reach to scholars, students and all users across the State, the country and the world. New funding will help the Library expand the preservation of and access to its Special Collections, enabling more lifelong learners and scholars to use these unequalled educational treasures."

Governance

BOARD CHAIR

Ms. Vivian K. Spiro

Community Volunteer

Term: Jan 2000 -

BOARD LEADERSHIP PRACTICES

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BOARD ORIENTATION & EDUCATION

Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations?


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CEO OVERSIGHT

Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year?


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ETHICS & TRANSPARENCY

Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year?


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BOARD COMPOSITION

Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership?


RESPONSE NOT PROVIDED

BOARD PERFORMANCE

Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years?