Here’s our two cents on the subject:

We are not at all surprised that local media outlets and blogs are trying to stir the pot when it comes to the South Boston Public Library becoming the William Bulger Public Library.  Those in opposition seem to be guilty of lumping Senate President Bill Bulger with his notorious mobster brother James “Whitey” Bulger into one.  They can’t separate the two individuals and shackle them together with the last name of Bulger. 

Earlier this month, City Council President Bill Linehan submitted a written nomination to the Boston Public Facilities Commission for the naming of the South Boston Branch Public Library after William M. Bulger.  The reasons for the dedication and naming?  Well, let’s see…

  • Bill Bulger was the president of the state Senate for 18 years – the longest in Massachusetts history
  • He was the president of UMmass Boston from 1996 to 2003
  • For 25 years, he was a trustee of the library
  • Boston Public Library Foundation in 1992, a non-profit dedicated to raising money for the library
  • He is a triple Boston College Eagle, a scholar of Latin and Greek and author
  • He is a lifelong resident, a proud father of 8 children and numerous grandchildren, and an active and valuable member of our community

Some people don’t agree. According to the Boston Herald, a group of a dozen or so residents are vehemently opposed to the naming of the library in Bulger’s honor.

From the article:
“We don’t want to be reminded, after all that we’ve gone through, all that South Boston has gone through, about the Bulger name on a daily basis,” said Michael Burggren, 53, a 20-year Southie resident.

What you’ve gone through?  You’ve lived here for 20 years.  Whitey Bulger was on the run for 16 and in prison for the last three.  What exactly has Whitey Bulger put you through exactly?  There is no South Boston resident that would dispute the fact that James Whitey Bulger was an violent criminal who did a lot of terrible things.  He will now spend the rest of his life in prison.  But Billy Bulger is not Whitey Bulger. 

There is no shame in the Billy Bulger name.  He deserves recognition and his name on a library which he helped to preserve.  We are proud of Billy Bulger’s legacy and proud to call him one of our own.

And that’s our two cents.


  1. Anonymous August 19, 2014 at 4:50 pm
    Great job!
    Bill bulger is a good man. He should not continue to be punished for the sins of his brother.
  2. Anonymous August 19, 2014 at 6:00 pm

    Why don’t we put it to a vote? I bet the majority of old time Southie residents would rather the library be named after Librarian Ms. Engler who poured her heart and soul into that place and treated every child like gold back in the day. Name a new playground after Billy . Ms Engler should be on the top of the list to be honored for all of the work she did for our children. 

  3. Anonymous August 19, 2014 at 6:02 pm

  4. Anonymous August 19, 2014 at 6:58 pm

    “What exactly has Whitey Bulger put you through”……THANK YOU!!!. This guy sounds like a professional victim of the highest order complaining about whatever it is the papers are claiming is wrong in the world. I hope in the near future there is an opportunity for those people who WANT the library named after Mr. Bulger to get the same full page coverage as “the dozen or so” people the Herald pointed out (and BTW, where are the other 11??).  Every decent field trip we ever went on-the nuns would always be thanking him for some role he played in making sure it could happen. He always had our back–time to have his on this one.


  5. Jay Rooney August 20, 2014 at 2:39 am
    I said it before in a letter to the Globe and I will say it again… Nobody has done more for the people of South Boston over the last 50 years than Bill and Mary Bulger. My only suggestion is they name it after them both!
  6. Edso August 20, 2014 at 5:32 pm
    Everyone has someone in mind they would like to name the library after. The library garden was already named after Ms. Engler, while she was alive. Ms. Flemming was another dedicated South Boston librarian who I recall well. I think that in a democracy, our representatives are given some discretion to decide matters like this on our behalf. It’s kinda been working good in Southie for a long time so I’m gonna defer to Councilor Linehan.
  7. Kathy August 20, 2014 at 8:13 pm
    Bill Bulger certainly deserves to be honored by the people of South Boston. Bill stood by the people of South Boston through thick and thin. He never let the media dictate what he did and that is why they dislike him so much. He never turned his back on us whether it was politically popular or not. As for the “South Boston resident” who has lived here for 20 years, he doesn’t have a clue of what went on here before he moved in. Bill Bulger not only made sure his constituents were taken care of while representing us, but made sure South Boston’s streets, parks, and beaches were well taken care of also.
  8. Agree to Disagree August 21, 2014 at 4:42 pm

    I know B. Bulger has his supporters, as well as his detractors.  I personally feel he has been paid handsomely for his serivce, via 200K/year pension and various other perks.  And I think he actions/inactions regarding his brother are better examples of the “dont snitch” mentality than they are for the leader of a State Senate.  But regardless, the fact that so many people dont agree  if the naming is appropriate (looks like the current poll is split down the middle) is good reason to not name the building after him.  And just keep it as it is, or select a less controversial person.

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