Established in 1848, the Boston Public Library, with its 26 neighborhood branches, is known as one of the nation’s largest and busiest municipal public libraries. And, it certainly boasts a history of US firsts:
- The first large, public library open to the general public
- The first public library that permitted the borrowing of books and materials
- The first municipal library supported by the public
This impressive library offers much to its visitors – a repository of 8.9 million books and 22 million A/V items, available in all formats. Much of the library’s specialty stems from its vast collections in American history and art and art history; and it is also well-known for its repository of government documents.
The library’s significant and notable research collection has made it a member of the Association of Research Libraries (ARL), a non-profit organization that comprises North American research libraries.
The collection includes a vast range of rare items such as medieval manuscripts, records of colonial Boston, John Adams’ 3,800-volume personal library, as well as some his personal manuscripts, early editions of the works of William Shakespeare, and notable manuscripts on abolitionism. It also offers an impressive collection of various photographs, prints, postcards, and maps. And, it doesn’t stop there. Visitors to the library will also find archives of the Handel and Hayden Society, papers from notable American composers, and more. It’s no wonder why historian, David McCullough called the Boston Public Library one of America’s five most important libraries – others include the New York Public Library, Yale and Harvard libraries, and the Library of Congress.
A visit to the Boston Public Library is one you will not soon forget! It is open Monday – Thursday, 9:00 AM – 9:00 PM; Friday – Saturday; 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM; Sunday, 1:00 PM – 5:00 PM.
Boston Public Library
Central Library Address: 700 Boylston St., Boston MA 02116