Boston Public Library
Audio-Visual Services
Central Library
First Floor, Johnson Building, Central Library
617-859-2317




Special Feature: Boston at the Movies: First Films of the City 1901- 1905


Audio Materials | Circulation Policy| Specialized Collections and Resources  | Video Collection

Audio-Visual are located on the first floor of the Johnson Building. The adult non-print collections of the Library are located here. The audio-visual materials for children are in the Rey Children's Room and for teens in the Teen Room in the Central Library.

Audio Materials

Music CDs: this collection includes classical, choral works, popular music, jazz, world music, and shows (movie soundtracks/Broadway productions).

Language instruction audio courses: the collection includes basic world language instruction and English as a Second Language (ESL).

Books on CD: the collection emphasizes unabridged versions but also has abridged versions of fiction and non-fiction titles.

Circulation Policy

Audio-visual Circulation:

All AV materials are due 21 days from the date they are borrowed with the exception of DVDs, which are due 7 days from the date they are borrowed.

Overdue fines:

  • Adults $0.10 per day for all material types.
    Maximum fine of $5.00 for adult material.
  • Children and Teens $0.05 per day for all material types.
    Maximum fine of $2.50 for Children's and Teen material.

Lost Materials:

Category Replacement Cost
Audio Cassettes $16.00
Books on audio-tape $50.00
CD's $20.00
DVD's $25.00
Videos $50.00

Specialized Collections and Resources Bi-Folkal Kits- are designed to bring back memories and to encourage the sharing of experiences and idea and are useful as a programming idea. The variety of materials in each kit makes it possible to select just one or two items and create a single program or to combine all materials into a series of programs. Each kit contains a video and/or slides, music audiocassette, resource booklets, and items to touch to accompany the presentation. These kits are useful for senior and intergenerational programs.

Discovery Kits- The kits are created and assembled by librarians as part of a grant to provide teachers and students with primary resources and other materials from the library's collections. These kits include books, videos, documents and audio-visual materials organized by subject.

Video Collection

There are over 10,000 videotapes and DVDs in the collection available for loan. The feature film collection includes classic cinema, popular titles, and foreign films with subtitles.

Our non-fiction collection includes documentaries, literary adaptations, music, travelogues, how-to, and series such as Eyes on the Prize, National Geographic, Shakespeare Plays, PBS Masterpiece Theatre, to name a selection of favorites.

Represented in the collection are videos which offer closed captioning and American Sign Language (ASL) interpretation for deaf and hard of hearing patrons and descriptive narratives for blind and visually impaired patrons (DVS videos).

The majority of the videos have public performance rights. Those videos that do not have public performance rights are for home use only and are so indicated.