Gyasi Burks-Abbott: Library Trustee

March 6, 2024

“Bedford has been good to me and I believe in giving back,” said Gyasi Burks-Abbott, explaining his candidacy for the Board of Trustees of the Bedford Free Public Library, where he hopes to be “safeguarding one of our town’s many treasures.”

“The Bedford Library is one of the first institutions I encountered when I moved here,” Burks-Abbott related. “Since then, I’ve used the library a lot,” he said, from printing services to notarization to just browsing.

Indeed, his 2022 book, “My Mother’s Apprentice: An Autistic’s Rite of Passage,” is part of the collection. Yorkshire Publishers described the work as “a tribute to Gyasi’s mother, Ruth, an academic who instilled in Gyasi a love of learning and always encouraged him to think and advocate for himself.”

Burks-Abbott, an alumnus of Macalester College, has a master’s degree in library science from Simmons College and worked in the Harvard University libraries. 

“I always wanted to be an academic librarian, and I came to associate the pursuit of knowledge with higher education. The public library has been called ‘the lifeblood of the community. 

“The library is more than a repository for books,” Burks-Abbott observed. “There is a steady stream of programs for patrons of all ages and persuasions. Just last month there were STEM activities, an author event, winter lecture, genealogy club, Knitting with Norma. It’s like a community center.

“I was recently working on a journal article and I needed a book for reference,” he said. “I was able to get the book through the Minuteman Library Network,” where he could access a special collection in neurodevelopmental disabilities.  

Burks-Abbott is a Board member of the Friends of the Library, a member of the Bedford Disabilities Commission, and also served on the Cultural Council. He is on the faculty of the Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Related Disabilities (LEND) program at Boston Children’s Hospital.

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