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BPL hit by cyber attack, shutting down most of its computer network

A man passes the Boston Public Library on May 21, 2020.Craig F. Walker/Globe Staff

Staffers at Boston Public Library branches are using pen and paper to check out books in the wake of a cybersecurity attack that has largely shut down the BPL’s computer network, the agency said Friday.

“We are currently handling all transactions by hand at all locations,” BPL spokeswoman Natsha Fee wrote in an e-mail.

The computer network was attacked on Wednesday and the system used to conduct electronic check out of books, among other tasks, and most of its capability remains off-line, the BPL said Friday. Libraries themselves remain open and some online services continue to function, the agency said.

But most of the network is down and there is no date set for the restart by the city’s IT department.


“In the meantime, all locations will remain open, patrons will still be able to check out books, and some online services remain operational. This is an ongoing situation and the library will update patrons and staff about services and impacts on its website,” the BPL said in a statement.

No evidence has so far emerged indicating personal information of patrons or employees has been compromised. “There is currently no evidence that sensitive employee or patron data has been disclosed,” the library said.

“We apologize for any inconvenience this outage may have caused patrons,” Kurt Mansperger, the BPL’s chief technology officer, said in a statement. “Thank you for your patience as our team and law enforcement officials work to restore our digital services and protect the library from future attacks.”

John R. Ellement can be reached at Follow him @JREbosglobe.