Don’t close the book on naming Lynn library


They say that nothing gets done in Washington, D.C. The federal government is in gridlock.

Congress can’t agree on anything. 

Yet, it took the 115th Congress of the United States only 196 days — start to finish — to pass a bill (H.R. 6059) designating Lynn’s main post office the Thomas P. Costin Jr. Post Office Building. 

The bill was introduced by Rep. Seth Moulton on June 8, 2018, came out of committee on Dec. 11, passed the House without objection the same day, passed the Senate with unanimous consent Dec. 19 and was signed into law by President Trump on Dec. 21.

The Thomas P. Costin Jr. Post Office building was dedicated on May 24, 2019.

As you might imagine, it’s not that easy to get a federal building named for someone. 

This makes the recent vote by the Lynn Public Library Trustees to not consider naming the library for anyone even more quizzical.

A proposal was submitted to the library trustees last summer to add the name of former Mayor Patrick J. McManus to the library. It had the support of the three top elected officials in the city — Mayor Thomas M. McGee, City Council President Darren Cyr and Council Vice President Buzzy Barton, and we can understand why.

McManus was an extremely accomplished person as well as an outstanding mayor. A graduate of Lynn English (Class of ’72), Bowdoin College, Suffolk University’s Sawyer Business School and Boston College Law School, he was both an attorney and certified public accountant. 

As the longest consecutive-serving mayor in Lynn’s history (1992-02), McManus directed more than $10.5 million in city funds to the library. He truly cared about education and the intrinsic role literacy plays in it. His parents, Bob and Kay, were both educators. And he is the only person ever to earn an Agganis Foundation Scholarship, play in the Agganis All-Star Football Game and serve on the Agganis Foundation Board of Trustees, again reflecting his commitment to academics.

You get the picture. 

If only the “stewards of the library” got it. 

On Nov. 26, the library trustees voted, 4-2, to not consider naming the library for anyone. 

It is conceivable that those who voted against naming the library for anyone may have what they consider good reasons, but all that has been offered is some version of, We just don’t think there should be a name on the library.

Sorry, not good enough. Every other library in the city has had a name on it  (see Thor Jourgensen’s column, Page A4).

We would hate to think this is a classic example of a governmental entity that typically operates in virtual anonymity – Did you know there was a board of library trustees? – taking a rare  opportunity to exert its authority, and in the process coming to a conclusion that defies logic.

It also seems incongruous that a board appointed by the mayor would vote against the mayor, who is on the record as supporting naming the library for McManus. 

There is some good news, however. There is a mulligan available.

Since the board of library trustees must include 11 members, according to the city’s law department, a motion requires six votes in order to be legally adopted. That means this 4-2 vote was meaningless. Thankfully.

Let’s hope that Santa brings some clarity and common sense to those who might benefit, and that in 2020 one of Lynn’s great leaders receives the honor for which he is so eminently deserving.


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