Boston Public Library

Accessibility Resources and Services

Central Library


The Boston Public Library strives to make our resources accessible to all users through a variety of collections, services, and specialized equipment. The following collections, services, and equipment are available for use at the Central Library in Copley Square.

Please note that the Central Library is currently under construction; call ahead before making a special trip if you have specific questions about these resources.

Accessible entrances

The best entrance to the McKim Building at the Central Library in Copley Square is from the ramp on Darmouth Street. Elevators are available from the first floor to reach other floors in the building. The best entrance to the Johnson Building is from the Boylston Street entrance, where an elevator provides access to the second floor. While it is possible to cross from one building to the other internally during the renovation, please note that a small set of stairs or a lift needs to be used. Any staff member or security guard can assist patrons needing assistance.


The Boston Public Library owns Braille books for adults and children; NBA, NFL, and MLB schedules; and subscriptions to The New York Times, National Geographic Magazine, and Science News in Braille. The library also holds a number of collections that may assist patrons with disabilities, including books on CD and downloadable audiobooks, ebooks, DVDs with subtitles and closed-captioning capabilities, language learning materials, and Large Print collections. In addition, most books digitized by the BPL are turned into audio (DAISY) files that can be downloaded for play on certain devices and/or listened to directly in a web browser. If you need assistance turning a print item into an audio item for accessibility purposes, please email


To assist patrons when they visit, the Boston Public Library has several tools for public use. A wheelchair is available; please ask a security guard or check at an Information Desk if you need to use it during your stay. In addition, every public service desk has a handheld magnifier for use in the library. Several of our program rooms are equipped with assistive listening devices. Contact our Events department at 617.859.2212 or for information on this service. Patrons who need interpretation services for any of the library’s programs should request them as early as possible through our Programs department at (617) 859- 2382 or

A sensory wall in the Children's Library on the second floor of the Johnson building is designed to engage kids with sensory processing disorders, and the department holds sensory story times and programs with therapy dogs. Special adapted tours of the Children's Library can be developed for various groups. For more information, please contact the Children's Library at (617) 859-2476.


One adaptive computer station is available for use in Tech Central, in the Washington Room on the second floor of the McKim Building.

Adaptive Computer Station Software and accessories:

Windows 7 with Microsoft Word 2010 and Internet Explorer, Firefox, and Chrome browsers, including a Large Screen PC, Large Print keyboard, and Magnifier with the following additional tools:

  • Jaws 15
  • Narrator
  • Zoomtext for Windows
  • Duxbury Braille Translator Pro 60
  • Braille Printer Juliet
  • Braille Pen USB
  • Kurzweil 1000 and 3000

Additional adaptive software is available on other computers. Computer use is limited to two hours per day, but it may be extended. Customers must have a Boston Public Library card or a visitor pass to sign up for computer time. Telephone reservations are permitted. Please call (617) 859-2255 to make reservations or for more information about the adaptive computer station.

Other computers in Tech Central have proprietary software for screen reading and magnification. Staff at the desk can assist patrons with any of the computers.