Free to All - BPLF's Spring 2023 Newsletter

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From Egleston Square to Entrepreneur in Residence

A grant from the Nasdaq Foundation funds the Boston Public Library’s inaugural Entrepreneur in Residence program.

As a child growing up in Boston, Dr. Allana Da Graca regularly visited the Egleston Square Branch, in Roxbury, and now fondly remembers the piles (and piles!) of books she would check out. As a teen, she came to the Central Library to work on college applications, and when she was brainstorming how to start her own business, she spent her days at the Kirstein Business Library & Innovation Center (KBLIC), an experience she describes as “life changing.”

Interview continues on page 2

SPRING 2023 NEWSLETTER PLUS: Democratizing Boston's History Excel Adult High School Program A Note from the Executive


From Egleston Square to Entrepreneur in Residence

In 2016, Dr. Allana founded Turning on the Lights Global Institute, a business coaching firm dedicated to helping leaders reach new goals. Through workshops and conferences, she’s guided hundreds of clients on their strategic initiatives.

Today, Dr. Allana is the Boston Public Library’s first Entrepreneur in Residence (EIR), a role funded by the Nasdaq Foundation through the Boston Public Library Fund. “We are grateful to the Nasdaq Foundation for their commitment to this inaugural program,” says Executive Director Paula Sakey. “Dr. Allana is making important strides to advance equity in Boston’s business community.”

The Boston Public Library Fund’s Katie Miller sat down with Dr. Allana to learn more.

The position of EIR is a unique role. Tell me a little bit about your work.

An EIR is a mentor, someone who shares their lived experience with others to help them get their business off the

ground. I see myself as an activator. Oftentimes, patrons come to me with big abstract ideas and I’m the bridge between their ideas and the steps necessary to set goals and build business plans. I help them take advantage of the incredible resources here at the KBLIC, which are free!

What are some of the challenges entrepreneurs in Boston are facing right now?

Boston is a city filled with ambitious people and individuals who are experts in their field. Sometimes it can feel crowded in the start-up world, and I speak with a lot of people who have a dream but suffer from impostor syndrome, the feeling of not being good enough. Others are missing the competency of running a business — digital literacy, financial forecasting, securing funding, and building exposure are all topics I get questions about.

What programs have you offered patrons?

In addition to one-on-one mentoring appointments, I’ve hosted workshops on creating vision boards and one-page business plans. Coming up, we’ll celebrate Black entrepreneurs during the month of February and women entrepreneurs in March. And, although I’m still working out the details, I’m planning an event for a Google Design Sprint, a process for answering critical business questions through design, prototyping, and testing ideas with customers.

That’s a lot coming up! What keeps you motivated?

The BPL has always been an important place to me. This position allows me to give back to the Library, so I’m thrilled to help patrons access the resources the KBLIC offers. We have it all here — please stop by!

Dr. Allana concludes her residency in April. To set up an appointment with her or to attend one of her workshops, please visit

Patron Rich Le came to KBLIC to streamline his UX Design business and worked closely with Dr. Allana to develop his service description, digital marketing plan, and unique value positioning. Rich hopes to relaunch his business this year.

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A Note from the Executive Director DEAR FRIENDS,

Since the relaunch of the Boston Public Library Fund, in 2019, my colleagues and I have been honored to work with individuals and institutional supporters to expand the resources and services offered by the Boston Public Library (BPL).

This year, two really exciting programs were introduced to meet the needs of the communities we serve — our Entrepreneur in Residence (EIR) program and the Boston Community History Project. Seed funded by the Nasdaq Foundation and Bank of America, respectively, these programs speak to the dynamic role of the public library as a community center for evolving patron needs.

Based in the Central Library’s Kirstein Business Library & Innovation Center (KBLIC), the Entrepreneur in Residence program is available — free of charge — for one-on-one mentoring appointments and group workshops. This is an incredible resource for new citizens, who are 10 percent more likely to own their own business than are those born in the United States. (You can read about the EIR program on the cover and page 2.)

The Boston Community History Project also seeks to lift individuals traditionally marginalized and will center the telling and preserving of neighborhood stories and voices. (Turn to page 6 for all the details about this pioneering initiative.)

Become the newest member of

It’s rewarding to be part of an organization that actively supports all individuals in their pursuit of learning and self-improvement. I know that many of you also value this about the BPL, and we’re grateful for your support as we strive to keep the Library — and our city — strong and equitable.

With gratitude,

The Boston Public Library Fund’s Patrons of the Courtyard society draws its name from one of the Central Library’s most iconic spaces, and it denotes a distinguished group of donors who are committed to furthering the Library’s exceptional collections, programs, and services by making an annual gift of $2,500 or more.

Members enjoy access to a range of exclusive experiences and events including our signature Celebration in the Courtyard.

Learn more by contacting Lisa Kernan at 617-859-2031 or

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Elevating Civic Engagement

Kay and Stanley Schlozman strengthen the Library’s role as a trusted beacon of learning that makes democracy possible.

At every stage of their lives, Boston residents Kay and Stanley Schlozman have relied on their public libraries to quench their thirst for knowledge. Stan grew up in Kansas City and credits his neighborhood library with, he says, “widening my horizons, sharpening my interests in a variety of unfamiliar subjects, and kindling an interest in national and international affairs.” Kay also has fond memories of her local library, in the suburbs of Chicago, and the significant role its beloved children’s librarian played in what she calls her “bookish childhood.” While the couple were raising their son and daughter, the Brookline Public Library became an important part of their lives.

In 2019, Kay and Stan reflected on the influence of public libraries on society and were

Shared by Many

inspired to invest in the Boston Public Library Fund. Their generous support is driven by their belief that the Boston Public Library is essential to the city, and that it’s more indispensable to a democratic society than ever before. “Libraries are a critical part of the civic infrastructure of any American community, an observation that’s particularly relevant in an information age,” says Kay.

“When I visit the Central Library, it’s just amazing to see the space full of patrons using the technology, availing themselves of vital resources, and advancing their education,” Stan says. “Our gift is an expression of support for the Library’s no-cost services, programs, and collections, all crucial for America’s place in the world.”

Kay has fond memories of checking out books from her local library and climbing a tree to read them.

“The Library is a place shared by many, many Bostonians, regardless of age or background, that provides services and resources without cost — most importantly to those who might not otherwise have access to them,” say patrons Kay and Stanley Schlozman. “We have come to recognize the wisdom of what we learned in kindergarten. The librarian is your friend. It is as if the library has an invisible sign posted out front asking, ‘How can we help you?’”

Kay and Stan are members of Patrons of the Courtyard, the Fund’s leadership annual giving society, which helps ensure that library staff can deliver core services while adapting to diverse patron needs. Support from Patrons of the Courtyard enables the Library to:

• Develop resources to link visitors with workforce services

• Expand English for Speakers of Other Language (ESOL) programming

• Provide Home Connectivity Kits, a laptop and hot spot, to patrons with limited Internet access

To learn more about Patrons of the Courtyard, please visit

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There’s a Seat for Everyone

Board Member Donna Harris-Lewis Honors her Family in Rabb Hall.

Reflecting on her ties to the Boston nonprofit world, Boston Public Library Fund Board Member Donna Harris-Lewis has seen firsthand how philanthropy and public–private partnerships help to end societal disparities. “Libraries have always been a place where people can learn and discover new things so that they can go wherever they want in the world and overcome any barriers in their way,” she says.

Recently, Donna dedicated seats in the

Hailer Family Lights Up Bates Hall

Fifty years ago, Edward and Maureen Farrington immigrated to the United States from Ireland and found the Boston Public Library to be a place that offered safety, solace, and a sense of belonging

Today, their daughter Maureen Hailer and son-in-law John Hailer (a member of the Boston Public Library’s Board of Trustees) chose to recognize the special couple by naming a reading lamp in Bates Hall in their honor. The inscription on the brass plaque reads, "Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire."

“The Library is as important to our community now, as it was then,” says Maureen. “For that reason, we wanted to honor my parents by continuing to shed light in Bates Hall for generations to come.”

Learn more at

Central Library’s Rabb Hall with a donation to the Fund in memory of her late husband, Reginald “Reggie” Lewis Sr., Boston Celtic captain, and in honor of their son and daughter.

“Naming four seats in Rabb Hall,” she says, “is my way to give back and support the Library’s initiatives that help people pursue their professional and personal goals.”

To learn more, visit

New Initiative Unlocks Current Support

The Boston Public Library Fund (BPLF) has launched its first-ever Bequest Challenge — an effort to raise awareness and interest in legacy giving. Thanks to the generosity of a longtime board member, bequests made in a will or living trust will be matched with a current-use gift — increasing the impact of support.

“The 1848 Bequest Challenge is an opportunity to be a part of the future of this beloved Boston treasure, while unlocking current support for programs that benefit our community today,” says BPLF Deputy Executive Director Carol Estes-Schwartz. “This is one way patrons can develop long-term strategies to benefit the people and organizations they hold dearest.”

Learn more at

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Democratizing Boston’s History


With a transformative investment from the Bank of America Charitable Foundation, the Library will launch the Boston Community History Project.

The Boston Public Library (BPL) has long worked with communities in the city to explore and share their local histories. Most recently, the BPL partnered with the Boston Research Center at Northeastern University to develop community-driven, co-designed projects, from the Harriet Tubman House Memory Project to the East Boston History Portal.

Now, with a $500,000 grant from the Bank of America Charitable Foundation, the Library will launch the Boston Community History Project, to bring existing efforts to scale and fundamentally advance equity in the historical narrative of the city of Boston.

The new funding enables the BPL to establish a Community History Department, which will work throughout the city at its 26 locations, to support and platform the stories of Boston's diverse and historically underrepresented communities. BPL staff will work with communities to support the creation of oral histories, memoirs, and other ways of telling and preserving history.

“This pioneering initiative will dramatically expand the Library’s community-history efforts and sends an important

message to all Boston residents that they’re part of the city’s ever-unfolding story,” said David Leonard, President of the Boston Public Library. “Library staff are eager to lead this robust effort to connect with communities.”

For the Library’s Community History and Digitization Specialist Dory Klein, this is one way to democratize history. “By supporting and collaborating with Boston residents in the gathering and telling of personal histories, we can gain a deeper understanding of our shared past,” she says. “Shifting our focus from the narratives told by history’s most powerful figures and instead amplifying the stories of historically marginalized communities enables us to grapple with the full range of our history, recognize that we’re continually making history, and imagine a more just future.”

“We’re incredibly grateful to Bank of America for playing a pivotal role in helping create a community where every voice is recognized and valued,” said Paula Sakey, Executive Director of the Boston Public Library Fund. “This forward-thinking investment speaks to the importance of documenting stories that represent the full breadth of Boston’s diversity so that researchers, scholars, and students can learn from this amazing resource for generations to come.”

Library staff will begin work on Boston Community History projects in early 2023. Dr. Ibram X. Kendi, founder and director of Boston University’s Center for Antiracist Research, will serve as the first member of the advisory council.

What is community history?

Community history seeks to make history a collaborative process and diversify the voices that are present in historical narratives.

Community History and Digitization Specialist Dory Klein
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Bates Medal Awarded to Dr. Ibram X. Kendi and Bank of America

In October, during a ceremony at the Central Library, the Boston Public Library (BPL) awarded the Bates Medal to Dr. Ibram X. Kendi, Director and Founder of Boston University’s Center for Antiracist Research, and Bank of America, with Mr. Miceal Chamberlain, Managing Director and Massachusetts President of Bank of America, accepting.

“The Bates Medal is named for Joshua Bates, who provided the initial funding for the BPL’s collections because he believed that all people should have equal access to the resources they need to enrich their lives,” said David Leonard, President of the Boston Public Library. “Both Dr. Kendi and Mr. Chamberlain exemplify this commitment, and this award speaks to their leadership in following Bates’s footsteps, developing resources — both scholarly and financial — that expand opportunities for all.”

“At a time when the collections at our nation’s public libraries are being restricted and cut back, I accept this medal of behalf of all the librarians around the country fighting to expand literary opportunities like Joshua Bates.” — Dr. Ibram X. Kendi

“Working together across the public and private sectors is critical to driving positive change, and we’re lucky that this ‘palace for the people’ is here in Boston, working to build a brighter future for our community.”

(L – R) Priscilla Douglas, Chair of the Boston Public Library Board of Trustees; Bates Medal–winners Dr. Kendi and Mr. Chamberlain; and David Leonard, President of the Boston Public Library.
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This Mom Proves It’s Never Too Late to Learn

Privately funded scholarships ensure that Massachusetts residents, 19 years and older, can earn their high school diploma.

When Christina Ingram became a young mother, she was forced to leave high school to care for her son. Despite many obstacles, Ingram was determined to earn her diploma — and when she stopped by the Boston Public Library (BPL), the opportunity finally came when she saw a flyer for Excel Adult High School.

Initially, Ingram was worried the program wouldn’t work for her. However, after researching it and speaking with a Library staff member she started to believe it might be the right fit.

“I was so busy, but I had to get my high school diploma because my main goal was to teach my kids that no matter how old you are, you can do it,” Ingram explains. “I’m 39, and I’m showing them that you just don’t give up.”

“The benefits of Excel Adult High School are just astronomical,” says Jess Elias, Community Learning Supervisor at the BPL. “One of my favorite things to do here is talk to students about this program. It’s a pathway to something that’s really life changing.”

Excel Adult High School is both flexible (100 percent online and self-paced) and highly supportive, connecting students with success coaches, tutors, instructors, school administrators, and Library staff who care about each student’s success. This year, there is no cost to students. Full scholarships have been awarded to all enrolled students thanks to the generosity of Michelle and Henry Nasella through the Boston Public Library Fund.

While the program gave Ingram an opportunity to earn her high school diploma, the experience gave her something equally valuable: confidence in herself and her abilities.

“Before, I had such low self-esteem about not having my education,” she says. “Now, I feel really good about myself. Without this opportunity, I’ll be honest: I probably never would’ve gotten my high school diploma.”

The Excel Adult High School program is available through a partnership with Gale, a part of Cengage group. Christina’s story was provided by Gale Presents and edited for length.

Michelle and Henry Nasella generously funded full scholarships for 50 students to attend Excel Adult High School.

“Education is the pathway to success,” says Henry, “and this program is an option for those who can’t earn a traditional high school diploma. My own father completed his high school education through the Marine Corps in World War II, so I’ve always appreciated that there are many ways to achieve the same result.”

Community Learning Librarian Jennifer Adams supports students interested in Excel Adult High School by providing guidance on enrolling, spaces to study, and access to technology.

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Christina Ingram (above) received a full scholarship to attend Excel Adult High School.

Their Future. Our Responsibility.

Whether they log in online or visit their local branch, more than 3,000 students benefit from the Boston Public Library’s summer reading programming each year. This deep commitment to summer learning was recently highlighted when the Library signed the Urban Libraries Council’s statement on equity in summer learning:

As public library leaders, we are resolved to bring about educational and social equity… summer learning programs play a crucial role in equitably reaching all children through intentional, systemic, and transformative library-school-community partnerships.

“Summer learning loss is a reality for many students,” says Paula Sakey, Executive Director of the Boston Public Library Fund. “Private funding helps prevent the ‘summer slide’ by enabling the Library to provide summer programs at all 26 locations – ensuring that children in every Boston neighborhood have access to innovative and high-quality learning opportunities when school is not in session.”

In 2022, the Boston Public Library Fund raised $29,000 for summer learning which allowed the Library to distribute take-home activities and books to help establish home libraries. Fundraising efforts for summer 2023 will kick off later this spring.

Impressive Inaugural Year Success

The Boston Public Library Fund’s Emerging Leaders Board have kicked off their second year with more than 50 active members. The Board is building on the success of its October fundraising event, Night in the Stacks. The sold-out event raised more than $111,000 for future Library projects. “As we grow and expand our presence in the community, I anticipate that we’ll have an even greater impact in the years to come,” says Emerging Leaders President Adrienne Zak Hunt. “Our membership is composed of Librarylovers from a wide range of industries and backgrounds, and we’re all eager to help grow support among our peers for this incredible institution.”

26.2 for BPL!

One of Boston’s most iconic images is of the Marathon finish line, within view of the Central Library. On April 17, this location will hold a special significance to 17 runners — Team BPL — who will complete the 26.2-mile course in front of the institution they’re supporting.

The group has spent six months training and raising significant funds for the Library. Stephanie Bendeck was inspired to join Team BPL because of the BPL’s English-language programming. “My parents immigrated to the United States in the 1970s from Central America,” she says. “Neither my mother nor my siblings spoke English, and learning it wasn’t easy.” Her family improved their English by taking out books from their local library, and now Stephanie says she’s thrilled to raise funds for such a personal cause.

Through fundraising, hosting social events, and volunteering, the Emerging Leaders increase public awareness and support of the Boston Public Library. Learn more at

For South End resident Brian Freiwald, running with Team BPL is a way to support his neighborhood. “This is my first marathon and I couldn’t be more excited about the race or the cause,” he says. “Every weekend I visit this amazing resource with my three kids, and I’m honored to be raising awareness and support for the Library.”

To meet Team BPL and cheer on their efforts with your gift, please visit

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Boston Printmakers Celebrates

75th Anniversary

Since its founding, the Library has maintained a close connection with the artist group.


Lead Curator of the Arts

In 1947, the Boston Public Library’s first keeper of prints, Arthur Heintzelman, hosted the formative meeting of the Boston Printmakers in the Wiggin Gallery. The idea for establishing the Boston Printmakers came from faculty members and students at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and the Massachusetts College of Art to promote the art of printmaking in the city and beyond. This was a particularly vibrant time for artmaking in Boston, as local museums displayed daring new works by Pablo Picasso and Florine Stettheimer, which stimulated students returning to school with help from the GI Bill. The Boston Printmakers hosted its first exhibition in 1948.

Since that time, the Boston Public Library has been part of this creative ecosystem, supporting the work of the group by exhibiting and collecting prints from affiliated artists. This year, Boston Printmakers celebrates its 75th anniversary.

The Boston Public Library Fund is pleased to support the Library’s ongoing efforts to ensure that its collections remain available to curious minds — free to all — for decades to come.

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Explore the Library’s Boston Printmakers Collection online! Scan this QR Code using your phone or go to and use the search function.
Otis Philbrick (1888–1973), November Oak, 1951, Color lithograph Nora S. Unwin (1907–1982) Mexican Women, 1956, Wood engraving Denzil Hurley (1949–2021), Here to There #11, 1978, Color aquatint

Street-Scale Stories of Boston’s Past Jump off the Pages

At the Leventhal Map & Education Center’s latest exhibition, historians and teen curators from Boston Public Schools zoom in on urban atlases.

In January, the Norman B. Leventhal Map & Education Center opened a new exhibition, Building Blocks: Boston Stories from Urban Atlases. The installation dives into the Boston Public Library’s urban atlases collection — a set of materials that contain extraordinary detail of individual buildings and parcels of land — and includes the work of three teen curators from Boston Public Schools. The students pursued historical research projects that connect observations in the maps to the contemporary urban landscape. Building Blocks provides a chance to consider how Bostonians’ lives have been shaped by the spaces of the city around them.

The Norman B. Leventhal Map & Education Center, and exhibitions like this one, is generously supported by the Boston Public Library Fund. The Center is located at the Central Library and is open to the public six days a week — free to all. Building Blocks is on display until August 19 and for information about visiting and guided tours, visit

Layers of History to Explore

The Building Blocks exhibition draws on the same urban atlases that are featured in the Leventhal Center’s custom digital tool Atlascope. Using Atlascope, you can peel back layers of history, jumping through time in atlases that have been “warped” so that they act like modern Web maps. The Leventhal Map & Education Center is widely recognized for its innovative digital geohumanities work. To access Atlascope, visit

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Nadia Madaoui, a senior at the John D. O’Bryant High School in Roxbury, studied the history of the Kelleher Rose Garden, seen here on this 1931 atlas.


Celebrate National Library Week

April 23 - 29

To celebrate National Library Week, we’re asking our community to take action to support the Boston Public Library.

We will come together to raise our collective voice and shout out the importance of the public library as a resource where books should never be banned, access to information is always free, and opportunity is just a library card away.

Visit to learn more.

Join us for Morning Brew

Thursday, May 18, 7:30 - 9:30 a.m.

Newsfeed Cafe, Central Library

Morning Brew, the Boston Public Library Fund’s annual breakfast and conversation event, is back! You’ll hear from a panel of speakers on the Library’s new Boston Community History Project, which supports the stories of Boston's diverse and historically underrepresented communities. Join us to learn more about this exciting new initiative and to make new connections.

Register today at Boston Public Library Fund | 700 Boylston Street | Boston, MA 02116 | | @bplfund Scan this QR code to make your gift today! ****AUTO***ALL FOR AADC XXXX XX X <First Name> <Last Name> <Address> <City> <State> <Zip> NONPROFIT ORG U.S. POSTAGE PAID PERMIT #375 NASHUA, NH 700 Boylston Street Boston, MA 02116 UNLOCKING OPPORTUNITY | ACTIVATING DEMOCRACY | SHARING TREASURES SPRING 2023 NEWSLETTER FREE TO ALL
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