Boston Public Library

Archival Context: Freedom House at the Norman B. Leventhal Center

A faded flyer with red text reading "Clean Up Paint Up Join your neighbors Don your work clothes Get busy Make your town a better place to live in Safer too Start at home Make it bright Clean your streets Clean your yard Paint inside Paint outside Fix-up and repair Plant-up too

On March 18th, the Norman B. Leventhal Map & Education Center in the Boston Public Library (BPL) debuted their exhibit “More or Less in Common: Environment and Justice in the Human Landscape.” The exhibit examines how social justice and injustice are confronted in the study of the “human landscape” and how we can use questions of social justice to help us build healthier and better environments for the future.

Northeastern’s contributions to the exhibit come from our Freedom House, Inc., records and in particular, their records on urban renewal and neighborhood-led clean-up campaigns. The exhibit features two fliers calling Roxbury neighbors to action in various clean-up and maintenance projects. Neighborhood improvement programs designed to protect Upper Roxbury from urban blight began in 1949 when Freedom House joined with community members to organize neighborhood clean-up projects and playground construction.

A multi-colored guide with the title "Let's get M.A.D. and clean up Washington Park"

Freedom House worked closely with the city to improve the services provided to Roxbury. At the same time, Boston was beginning a formal urban renewal campaign that did not initially include Roxbury. A telegram from Freedom House founders Muriel and Otto Snowden to Mayor John F. Collins resulted in the inclusion of the Washington Park Urban Renewal Project in Boston’s campaign. By 1963, Freedom House had entered into formal contracts with the Boston Redevelopment Authority (BRA) and the Action Boston Community Development to serve as a liaison between the planners and technicians and the residents of Washington Park. This relationship lasted until the BRA withdrew from Roxbury in the late 1960s, leaving much of its work undone.

The Leventhal Center’s exhibit takes our Freedom House records, and many other institutions’ records, and composes them into a complicated vision of how human landscapes were confronted and contended with in the past and how they can be reimagined for the future.

Visit the exhibit in person at the BPL’s historic McKim Building during the BPL’s visiting hours, which can be found here.

Or you can view the digital exhibit, along with lesson plans and resources for further study, here.

Find out more about the Freedom House records, the Snowdens, and Roxbury neighborhood history here.

Google Book settlement forum, July 21, 2009 at the Boston Public Library

 

A panel about what the Google Books settlement agreement means for the academic, library, and business communities.

Speakers:

  • Daniel Clancy, Engineering Director, Google Books
  • John Palfrey, Henry N. Ess III Professor of Law and Vice Dean for Library and Information Resources, Harvard Law School
  • Ann Wolpert, Director of Libraries, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Hal Abelson, Class of 1922 Professor of Computer Science and Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Moderated by Maura Marx, Executive Director, Open Knowledge Commons.

Google Book Search is an ambitious project to digitize the world’s books. Six years, many million works, and two U.S. lawsuits later, the project is now set to change dramatically. Google has reached a settlement agreement with authors and publishers that, if approved by the court, will have sweeping implications for writers, readers, scholars, librarians, and the public at large.

The panel of speakers will explain and discuss the settlement. The panel will be followed by a question-and-answer session.

http://bpl.org/news/calendar.htm?trumbaEmbed=view%3Devent%26eventid%3D84588833

Ex-BPL head Bernie Margolis compared to Babe Ruth…

“Just as the Yankees took Babe Ruth, Boston’s loss is our gain,” said Tom Dunn, New York Education Department spokesman, speaking of Boston’s well-liked ex-public library head, Bernie Margolis.  Margolis was ousted from the Boston Public Library last year by Mayor Menino, and has just landed a very plum job as State Librarian and Assistant Commissioner of Education for the state of New York.  Congratulations, Bernie, it was good to know ya! Read more in yesterday’s Globe: http://www.boston.com/news/local/massachusetts/articles/2008/10/22/ex_bpl_chief_margolis_lands_library_education_post_in_ny/ Karen Merguerian