DAVID LEONARD, IRELAND
David Leonard, President of the Boston Public Library left his home in Dublin, Ireland in September of 1992 and came to the US to study philosophy at Boston College. “I was looking for the next chapter of my life. I had come out during my undergraduate years as a gay man, and felt that Dublin, which was still a pretty conservative place at the time, was a little small. It was important to me that where I went next was somewhere where I could be myself, where I could be accepted, and carve out what my life was going to be like. Over the 25 years I've spent here so far I've had opportunities to spend a lot of time in different parts of the country, and while there are many different cultures or identities, at the end of the day, if you can sit down with someone and have a drink, or have a coffee, and get to know them, that's a richer experience than much of our national politics seems to indicate."
“Change is difficult. Loss is difficult. People have had to leave their home countries because of whatever difficult situation that was. But equally there are those within our own country today feel that they have lost a piece of their way of life. Whether it's the changing manufacturing landscape. Whether it's the changing nature of work itself. Whether it's the onset of the internet, communications revolution... This is a basis for common ground and for coming up with shared solutions - one that addresses the needs of everybody who is a contributing member of society.. And not a basis for pitting one group [immigrant vs. native born] against another.”