Boston Library carpenter foreperson doesn’t just fix doors – she opens them for others

By AFSCME Staff ·

Ann-Marie Clark-Borden is the carpenter foreperson at the Boston Public Library, where she leads a three-person team in maintaining all 26 branches of the public library.

“That entails anything from flooring to door locks to bookshelves to furniture,” she says.

But Clark-Borden doesn’t stop at fixing doors. Since becoming the first woman and first African American to hold her current position, she has been opening doors for others. When she was hired for the job, the library changed the position’s title to “foreperson” from “foreman,” which is what it had been called for a hundred years.

“Ann-Marie speaks her mind,” says Andrew Maxcy, a co-worker who is adult programs support administrator at the library. “She’s very upfront about being a woman, about being a Black woman and what it means in the United States, what it means in our library and our union. And I am really grateful that in addition to doing her job well and doing her union work well, she speaks her mind and makes sure that we are truly an equitable place not just in words but in deeds.”

For her service to her community, Clark-Borden, a member of AFSCME Local 1526 (Council 93), is a winner of our union’s Never Quit Service Award, which recognizes public service workers who go above and beyond the call of duty to make their communities better.

Clark-Borden’s trailblazing career has inspired and opened doors for others, including for her 18-year-old daughter, Jahbria, who plans to follow in her mother’s footsteps.

“All throughout high school I was in the engineering program, and I realized that the construction part of engineering was really what I wanted to do,” Jahbria says. “My mom played a very big part in letting me know that there are different avenues to success. I feel as though she’s set the bar very high.”

“The best part is when she comes home and says, ‘I love it,’” Clark-Borden says of her daughter. “You know, it’s one thing to inspire, it’s another thing to know that she’s building a foundation for her own life.”

Clark-Borden says what motivates her to go the extra mile can be expressed in one word: love.

“My parents raised me on love, and love is a part of everything we do every day,” she says. “What motivates me is what I put out into the world. The world should have and see all of me because that’s why we’re here. All of us. We’re here for the betterment of the world. Why should I give you half of what I can? I would be doing both of us a disservice.”

Never Quit Service Awards

Know a co-worker who goes above and beyond to make their community better? Nominate them for AFSCME’s Never Quit Service Award.