February 16, 2018

Bethan Steward | Movers & Shakers 2010 – Community Builders

Library Journal March 15, 2010: Bethan Steward, Mover & Shaker


“Libraries need to work on creating a utopic space that reflects society’s concern for the environment,” says Boston Public Library’s (BPL) Bethan Steward, the librarian at the Egleston Square branch in Roxbury, MA. In her two and a half years there Steward has launched green initiatives that have brought a touch of Eden to the inner city. Among the activities are a partnership with the Food Project to bring community gardening and education to the library, a program since picked up by other BPL branches. She worked with Urban Ecology Institute’s CityRoots to get greenery planted on the grounds, an effort joined by community members. She’s also a founding member of BPL’s Green Task Force.

Steward spent nearly eight years as a children’s and youth services librarian, a role she still fills at Egleston, before taking on the responsibilities of branch librarian. “I try to translate some of that creativity to working with adults,” she says. “When I worked with teens, we had an improv acting group, and now I teach improv to the seniors at the adult day-care across the street.”

Steward “has committed herself to improving the environment of both the library and the surrounding community,” says Sarah Markell, BPL assistant manager of neighborhood services. “She is a compassionate individual with a strong sense of what is just and a unique ability to stand up for the library through gentle, persistent advocacy.”


Bethan Steward, Egleston square Branch, Boston Public Library


DEGREE MLIS, Simmons College, 2003

DRIVING FORCE Greening the library