Boston Library Loses President (And $750k In Art!), Teaches Law Firms Lessons On Record Retention

City of Boston officials are having a tough year.

First, after defending her decision to shut down the Boston area’s mass transit due to historic snowfall, Beverly Scott resigned as the head of the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority in February. Now, after two valuable pieces of art mysteriously disappeared, Amy Ryan resigned as Boston Public Library president.

Ryan said in a telephone interview, according to the Boston Globe, “I teamed up with the staff and the public and we accomplished a lot of great things.”

“I love Boston, and I love the Boston Public Library.”

The controversy continues to unfold as various e-mails and evidence come forward stating other valuable artifacts and documents, including pages of sheet music and coins from a time capsule, have been stolen from the Boston Public Library of late, reports the Boston Globe.

The key pieces of art in question, two prints—an Albrecht Dürer engraving titled “Adam and Eve,” valued at $600,000, and an etching by Rembrandt, “Self-Portrait With Plumed Cap and Lowered Sabre,” valued at up to $30,000—were reported as missing from the library’s Copley Square branch in April.

It’s not the first time the Boston Public Library has seen some of its precious materials destroyed.

In August 1998, a 100-year old water main broke in the night and ruined 50,000 reference books, 300,000 documents, and 3 million microfiches. Among the items destroyed were a collection of U.S. patents dating to 1872, court decisions, topographical maps, and several rare books, including an irreplaceable Census Catalog 1790-1972, an out-of-print, hand-annotated book that lists all Census Bureau publications for 200 years (via Boston.com).

However, even today, the Boston Public Library has no complete inventory or catalog of its holdings, which means public officials are still unaware of the total loss of the library in recent decades.

The Dewey Decimal System may be long outdated in library systems, but recordkeeping still proves crucial.

Consistent management of documents and data reduces litigation exposure and regulatory criticism (or public scandal!).

Conquering the challenges you encounter in managing, retaining, and disposing information on the road to legal compliance is more complicated than ever.

In fact, as the number of laws and risks related to governing records management continues to increase, it becomes even more paramount that organizations and their counsel follow best practices.

Do you know how long to keep records, how they should be stored, and who should have access to various files? If not, take The Center For Competitive Management’s information-packed webinar Thursday, June 18, 2015, at 2:00 to 3:15PM EST, titled:

Save It, Shred It, Delete It? Corporate Counsel’s Guide to Record Retention“.

It will help you navigate the complex universe of document retention rules and practicalities, including:

  • Mandatory record-retention requirements under federal and state laws
  • Keys to drafting records retention policies and protocols
  • Types of records that can and cannot be stored electronically
  • How to avoid paperless pitfalls that can increase litigation exposure or violate the law
  • Best practices for storage, retrieval and collection of ESI

You will finally be able to answer the following questions:

  • What Are Your Records Retention Requirements Under Law? 
  • How Do Law Firms Draft and Audi Electronic Records Retention Programs ?
  • How Do Law Firms Strive for Optimal Preparedness for Litigation and eDiscovery?

Electronic records may not fall victim to Boston-area snow, wind, and floods, but they still find ways to inexplicably disappear. But, your job doesn’t have to go, too. Learn best practices for record retention today.

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