Big Ideas Fest Speakers

David Leonard

David Leonard

David Leonard, leads the 170-year old Boston Public Library, one of the city’s great educational, cultural and civic treasures. David began working at the BPL in 2009, bringing deep experience from the technology, management and consulting fields. Appointed president by the Library’s Board of Trustees and Mayor Martin J. Walsh in June 2016, David’s focus is on developing the BPL as a twenty first century institution providing dynamic library experiences to the residents of Boston, of Massachusetts and beyond.


Boston Public Library has a Central Library in Copley Square, twenty five neighborhood branches, an archival center, and also serves as the ‘Library for the Commonwealth’ of Massachusetts. In his role David oversees a collection estimated to be more than 23 million books, maps, manuscripts, prints, and an expanding digital collection.


Prior to his appointment as President, David served as Interim President for one year. During that time he focused on the completion of the $78 million renovation of the Central Library in Copley Square, which opened in July 2016, as well as a significant number of branch and collections management improvement projects, enhancing access and the customer experience; collaborating with city departments and with local cultural institutions; and supporting Mayor Walsh’s arts and culture vision.


David’s background prior to BPL spans academia, the non-profit sector, and most recently ten years in the private IT consulting world in roles that included business development, management, and technology consulting. David is currently enrolled in the PhD program in Library Information Science at Simmons College. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Philosophy and Mathematics and a Master’s Degree in Philosophy from the University College Dublin.