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South End

685 Tremont Street, Boston, MA 02118

Branch Librarian: Anne Smart


10 a.m.–6 p.m.
12 p.m.–8 p.m.
10 a.m.–6 p.m.
10 a.m.–6 p.m.
9 a.m.–5 p.m.
9 a.m.–2 p.m.
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exterior of branch

Hours & Directions

Current programs and activities

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More information about the South End community

Friends of the South End Branch Library

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The South End Branch has a diverse collection of popular and scholarly materials for children and adults. For adults, there is a collection of local history documents and books, urban fiction, popular newspapers and magazines, DVDs, CDs, and audiobooks. For children, parents, and teachers, we have a fine collection of picture books and fiction and information books.


For children there are Toddler and Preschool Story Hour and Children’s Film programs weekly. Space is available for drop-in play groups. For adults there is a monthly book discussion group and a weekly English conversation class.

Friends of the South End Library sponsor a monthly author series.


Seasonal craft, music, and literary programs and the Summer Reading Club are available for children. There is a monthly TeenTween Night, Lego Club, and regularly scheduled art shows in the gallery space. Every winter volunteers from AARP prepare income taxes for area residents. There are public computers, printers, and public access terminals available for adults and children. There is a room available for public meetings. Please contact the branch for information.

The Friends of the South End Library have funded programs, purchased tree pits, and beautified the adjacent Library Park. They sponsor Easter and Halloween programs in the park and conduct an annual book sale.


Library service was established in the South End in 1877. The branch was located in the Mercantile Library Association until 1879 when it was moved to the English High School. In 1904, the Branch relocated to 397 Shawmut Avenue and then again in 1923 to the John J. Williams Municipal Building at Shawmut Avenue and West Brookline Street. On June 7, 1971, the South End Branch moved to a new building at its present location, which was on the site of the original Mercantile building.

In the late 1990s, the South End Branch was the subject of a major capital improvement project. An elevator was installed to make the second floor community room accessible to all. The carpet was replaced, roof fixed, new bathrooms and closet areas created, and the whole library painted. The Friends of the South End Branch Library led a fundraising campaign to pay for additional beautification. Thanks to their efforts, the South End Branch has been able to reupholster most of its public seating, the circulation desk, a beautiful banquette reading area located near the library entrance. In addition, new draperies were installed in the second floor lecture hall.

Entry   adult area   kids area