Walsh Appoints New Boston Public Library Trustees

Mayor Martin J. Walsh announced that writer and educator Jabari Asim and former state legislator Linda Dorcena Forry have been appointed to the Boston Public Library Board of Trustees. Journalist Ben Bradlee has also been re-appointed as Trustee. The Trustees’ mission is to preserve and provide access to historical records of our society, and to serve the cultural, educational, and informational needs of the city of Boston and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

“Linda Dorcena Forry and Jabari Asim both have served the public and understand the critical importance of making information accessible for all communities at the Boston Public Library,” said Mayor Walsh. “The City of Boston is honored to have them join the Board of Trustees and utilize their knowledge, expertise, and personal experiences to further our iconic institution’s important work.”

Asim fills the Board’s unofficial writer’s seat, which has been previously held by notable authors such as Dennis Lehane, David McCullough and Doris Kearns Goodwin.

“As a patron, researcher and author, I’ve benefited from the BPL’s expansive archives and programs,” said Jabari Asim. “I look forward to participating as a board member and contributing to its continued growth as an enduring institution and community resource.”

“I am honored to join the Boston Public Library board of trustees, as I have worked throughout my career in the Legislature to support and strengthen Boston’s system of branch libraries,” said Linda Dorcena Forry. “I look forward to putting my experience in city and state government to work on this board. Boston’s public library system is so important to the people of our city. Thanks to the leadership of Mayor Martin Walsh, board chairman Robert Gallery, and the BPL board, we are poised to make exciting investments into our system. I am thrilled to join this remarkable institution.”

Ben Bradlee Jr., author and a former editor for The Boston Globe, has been re-appointed to the Boston Public Library Board of Trustees.

“On behalf of my fellow trustees, we are thrilled to welcome Linda and Jabari to the Board and getting to continue to work with Ben, I am confident that their backgrounds and passion for the Boston Public Library and all it provides will be tremendous assets to our community,” said Robert Gallery, Chair of the BPL Trustees. “From supplying important educational and cultural resources to providing great library environments to our neighborhoods, Linda, Jabari and Ben will be serving Boston in such an important capacity.”

The Boston Public Library Board of Trustees establishes policies and sets the strategic goals of the library, oversees the general operating and administrative policies, and acts as an agent of public trust governing the library. The BPL Board of Trustees works together with the library president to carry out responsibilities that involve governance and policy-making, financial and development oversight, and the work of strategic planning.



Jabari Asim is an author, poet, playwright and associate professor of writing, literature and publishing at Emerson College, where he directs the MFA creative writing program. He is also the executive editor of The Crisis, the NAACP’s journal of politics, ideas and culture founded by historian and social activist W. E. B. Du Bois in 1910. Asim’s nonfiction books include “The N Word: Who Can Say It, Who Shouldn’t, and Why,” “What Obama Means: …For Our Culture, Our Politics, Our Future,” and “Not Guilty: Twelve Black Men Speak Out on Law, Justice, and Life.” His works of fiction include “A Taste of Honey” and his latest novel, “Only the Strong” (Agate Bolden). Asim is also the author of several children’s books, including “Whose Toes Are Those?” and “Fifty Cents and a Dream: Young Booker T. Washington. He was an editor at The Washington Post for 11 years. Born and raised in St. Louis, Missouri, he now lives in Brookline with his wife Liana and their five children.



Linda Dorcena Forry is Suffolk Construction’s Vice President of Diversity, Inclusion and Community Relations for the Northeast region, In this position, she is responsible for strengthening its diversity and inclusion program, developing long-term talent, and ensuring compliance with local workforce requirements. Before joining Suffolk, Forry served in the Massachusetts State Legislature for 13 years. She was the first woman and person of color elected to represent the First Suffolk Senate District, which includes Dorchester, Hyde Park, Mattapan and South Boston. She served in the post since 2013, and before that, was state Representative for the Twelfth Suffolk House District. She is the daughter of Haitian immigrants, and grew up near Uphams Corner in Dorchester. Along with her new trustee position, Dorcena Forry also serves on boards including the John F. Kennedy Library Advisory Board, the Rappaport Institute for Greater Boston at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, the Boys and Girls Club of Dorchester, and the Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti. Forry lives in Dorchester will her husband Bill and their four children.



Ben Bradlee, Jr.  spent 25 years, from 1979 to 2004, with The Boston Globe — 10 years as a reporter and 15 as an editor. As deputy managing editor, he oversaw the Globe’s Pulitzer Prize-winning coverage of the sexual abuse scandal in the Catholic Church from July 2001 to August 2002, and also supervised the production of a book on the subject, “Betrayal,” which Little, Brown published in June, 2002. “Spotlight,” a major feature film on the Globe’s investigation, was released in the fall of 2015 and won two Academy Awards, for best original screenplay and best picture.  Bradlee is portrayed in the film by actor John Slattery. A graduate of Colby College, Bradlee served in the Peace Corps in Afghanistan from 1970-1972. On his return to the United States in 1972, he went to work as a reporter for the Riverside (Calif.) Press-Enterprise, remaining there until mid 1975.



Boston Public Library has a Central Library, twenty-four 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. To learn more, visit bpl.org.

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