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Executive Search Firm Selected in Boston Public Library Presidential Search

November 10, 2015

Boston Public Library

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Today, the Boston Public Library Board of Trustees selected executive search firm, Spencer Stuart, to assist with the search for the next president of the Boston Public Library. The executive search firm will identify, recruit, interview, and evaluate top candidates for the position.  

"The search for the next president of the Boston Public Library is moving ahead," said Mayor Walsh. "The executive search firm and the recently named BPL Presidential Search Committee under the leadership of John Palfrey will ensure that a comprehensive community process and a far reaching national search are conducted."  

"Spencer Stuart will assist the Boston Public Library in extending the reach of our search for the next president of the BPL nationwide," said John T. Hailer, Interim Chair of the Boston Public Library Board of Trustees. "Their work will be critical to finding the most qualified candidate to lead this premier cultural institution forward."  

"I am excited to work with Spencer Stuart and the Search Committee to engage the people of Boston and to identify great candidates for the BPL presidency," said John Palfrey, Chair of the BPL Presidential Search Committee.  

"We are honored to assist the Boston Public Library in the important endeavor of selecting an outstanding leader who will represent the diverse needs of the community and who will serve with the level of distinction befitting this important institution," said Spencer Stuart consultants, Mary Gorman and Michele Haertel.

  Spencer Stuart is one of the world's leading executive search and leadership advisory firms, with 56 offices in 30 countries worldwide. In the past five years, Spencer Stuart has conducted over 300 executive searches for companies and organizations based in Massachusetts, covering sectors ranging from banking and finance to pharmaceuticals, retail and consumer goods, higher education, arts and culture, and other nonprofit organizations. The cost to engage with Spencer Stuart in the search process is $110,000. The firm will work closely throughout the presidential search process with the Mayor's Office, the BPL Board of Trustees, the BPL Presidential Search Committee, and the community, to identify and select the next president of the BPL.  

Executive search firms Waters & Company and Isaacson Miller, also responded to the September 2015 Request for Proposals (RFP).  All responses were reviewed by the appropriate selection committee, and each of the three respondent firms were interviewed. The BPL Trustees Finance and Audit Committee voted unanimously on November 6 to recommend the Board of Trustees award the contract to Spencer Stuart.  

The Trustees Finance and Audit Committee members are: Chair, Evelyn Arana-Ortiz, Representative Byron Rushing, Zamawa Arenas, and John T. Hailer (Chair of the Board of the BPL Board of Trustees).  The Committee's role is to assist the Library and the Trustees in decision making regarding all matters related to the finance functions of the Library.  


Boston Public Library has a Central Library, 24 branches, map center, business library, and a website filled with digital content and services. Established in 1848, the Boston Public Library has pioneered public library service in America. It was the first large free municipal library in the United States, the first public library to lend books, the first to have a branch library, and the first to have a children's room. Each year, the Boston Public Library hosts thousands of programs and serves millions of people. All of its programs and exhibitions are free and open to the public. At the Boston Public Library, books are just the beginning. To learn more, visit