Rep. Rushing to join Boston Public Library trustees' board

Rep. Byron Rushing: Speaking at a Save Our Libraries rally on City Hall plaza in June. Photo courtesy Dan Currie.Rep. Byron Rushing: Speaking at a Save Our Libraries rally on City Hall plaza in June. Photo courtesy Dan Currie.State Rep. Byron Rushing will be appointed to the Boston Public Library system's board of trustees, sources tell Lit Drop.

Rushing, a Roxbury Democrat, has been a member of the state’s House of Representatives since 1983.

Earlier this year, as state lawmakers and activists were fighting with trustees over the proposed closure of four libraries, Rushing lashed into the board, calling their relationship with lawmakers "outrageous." “I can think of very few institutions that come to the Legislature for funding that have such a terrible relationship with the Legislature," he said at a June board meeting, later adding, “You have had lobbyists who are awful. You have literally done a bad job.”

Library officials say Beacon Hill lawmakers have been consistently gutting funding for libraries, prompting the jobs and the proposals to close branches, including the one in Lower Mills.

Rushing is a New York native who has lived in Boston since 1964. He was president of the Museum of Afro-American History from 1972 to 1985.

The last state representative to hold a seat on the board was Angelo Scaccia, a Readville Democrat.


UPDATE: From the mayor's office, a statement from Mayor Menino: “At a time when libraries are changing and our city and state face difficult economic challenges, Byron Rushing is the kind of dedicated leader that will work hard to make a difference as a Trustee of the Boston Public Library. Byron has already done great things for the Boston community throughout his career as a staunch advocate for the residents of this city and lawmaker on Beacon Hill, and I thank him for his willingness to take on this new role in serving his fellow citizens of Boston.”

The mayor appoints all nine members of the board. Rep. Rushing told the Lit Drop yesterday evening that his first meeting will likely be in November at the Roslindale branch. He must still be sworn in.