Boston Public Library - Central Library
A landmark of the city, the Boston Public Library in Copley Squareserves as the central library for Boston's 26 branches. It's broken down into two parts: the Johnson Building and McKim Building.
With 6.1 million books -- including 1.2 million rare books and manuscripts -- numerous maps, musical scores and prints, more than 2.2 million people use the library each year. Notable collections include first edition folios by William Shakespeare, original music scores by Mozart, and the personal library of John Adams.
The Boston Public Library is also well-known for its collection of famous murals. In the McKim building, the Chavannes Gallery contains paintings by French artist Pierre Puvis de Chavannes, including "The Muses of Inspiration Hail the Spirit of Light." The Abbey Room displays murals titled the "Quest of the Holy Grail" by American artist Edwin Austin Abbey and spectacular murals painted by John Singer Sargent line the Sargent Gallery. The series, perhaps his most important work, shows the development of world religions and is different from his well-know American and European portraits and landscapes.
Daily tours focus on the art and architecture of the library, and programs include a full calendar of events, packed with everything from a fall author series, a Monday night film series featuring movies made in Massachusetts, and concerts in the courtyard every Friday during the summer. Calendar listings are available online, and are also broken down by neighborhoods for each of the 26 branches throughout the city.
The library also offers an array of changing exhibits -- like a current showcase of vintage postcards and travel posters -- story-times for children, English as a second language workshops, a teen room, inter-library loans, and adaptive technology for people with disabilities. Visitors can also spend time in the courtyard, and grab a bite to each at the Map Room Cafe.
- Hours: Mon - Thu, 9am - 9pm; Fri, Sat, 9am - 5pm; Sun, 1pm - 5pm (October through May)
- Handicap Accessible: Accessible by elevators
- Founding Date: 1848
- Parking: On-street: metered
- Size of collection: 61
- Specialties: Elaborate architecture, famous murals, a large collection of books, magazines, historical documents, cutting-edge technology and more than 50 programs a week and 150 exhibits a year.
- Services: Audiobooks, Movies, Music CDs, Research databases, Resources for job seekers
- Internet use policy: Free wireless Internet and desktop computers for visitors
- Wi-Fi: Free
- Private events: Yes