Hennepin County Library Director Amy Ryan has been chosen to head Boston's public libraries.

The 57-year-old Minnetonka resident was interviewed Thursday, along with other finalists, by that city's library trustees.

Ryan's openness and experience running community libraries in Minneapolis were considered her advantages in the Boston competition. Boston has 27 branches, and Menino wants more attention paid to them.

She's headed Hennepin County's libraries for the past three years after a career in Minneapolis libraries, and oversaw the merger of the library systems. She served as chief of the 14 branch libraries in Minneapolis before switching to oversee building projects. She described the Hennepin job as her dream job when she was named.

Before news that she would be leaving surfaced, Hennepin County Commissioner Mark Stenglein said Ryan would be missed.

"I hate to lose her, but she needs to do what she needs to do," he said. "I think it's a compliment to the Hennepin County system that they're interested."

Stenglein said he thinks the continuing merger of library systems will go smoothly under new leadership.

"She's done a good job of making sure she's covered things," he said. "That's what a good manager does."

Ryan said last week that she was invited to apply for the job, and found the Boston system too enchanting an opportunity to pass up. Boston is the nation's first big-city public-supported library. Its collections include Shakespeare folios, Mozart scores and the library of President John Adams.

Her parents are from Boston and a daughter attends college there.

Significant portions of the work of better integrating the two library systems remain. The County Board also is nearing a decision on whether to go ahead with Minneapolis plans to install a planetarium atop the downtown Minneapolis library.

Also on the plate for the merged libraries is a looming $2 million budget gap for 2009, plus efforts by the county library board to bolster its collection budget.

Steve Brandt • 612-673-4438

Staff writer Mary Jane Smetanka contributed to this report.