Press Room

A New Year of Free Opportunities at Boston Public Library

by Gina Perille

Discover, read, and experience something new at the library in 2014

BPLsquareBoston Public Library is the place for learners of all ages to discover, read, and experience something new in 2014. Anyone who lives, works, or goes to school in Massachusetts can have a Boston Public Library (BPL) card because the BPL serves as Library for the Commonwealth and is free to all. In honor of the New Year, Boston Public Library staff put together a list of ten free things to try out at the library in 2014.

  1. Download e-books. Search for downloadable e-books and audiobooks in the Boston Public Library’s catalog alongside printed books. Watch a brief tutorial about how to download the books to your computer or mobile device via
  2. See an exhibition. Many BPL locations host and present exhibitions. Through March 14, the Norman B. Leventhal Map Center features Made in Boston, an exhibition that brings together a majority of maps made in Boston in the century before the American Revolution. Find more exhibitions via
  3. Learn about local and family history. The BPL’s popular Local & Family History Lecture Series is in its eleventh season of sharing information about Boston’s history and giving guidance to those interested in genealogy. Learn more via
  4. Meet an author. Throughout the year, authors visit BPL locations to talk about their books. See who is on the schedule for 2014 by visiting
  5. Take a class. Research, computer, and career classes are offered at the Central Library in Copley Square and throughout the branches. Learn how to operate an iPad, improve your budgeting skills, and search for a new job. Download a PDF of the Central Library’s January class schedule or search the library’s systemwide calendar via
  6. Experience an art and architecture tour. Hour-long tours of the Central Library in Copley Square are offered once each day. See the schedule via
  7. View vintage photos, posters, and prints. Boston Public Library has published more than 89,000 images to its Flickr photostream at
  8. Discover the library’s finest collections. Boston Public Library has so far designated a group of eighteen Collections of Distinction, which were chosen from its collection of 23 million holdings as the most extraordinary. Read about them via
  9. Learn a new language. Boston Public Library offers free access to online language learning tools like Mango and Powerspeak, which include instruction in Spanish, French, German, Mandarin, and more (even Pirate). Learn more via
  10. Borrow a laptop. All twenty-four of Boston Public Library’s branches lend laptops for two hours of in-library use. Find a location near you via

Boston Public Library has a Central Library, twenty-four branches, a literacy center, map center, business library, and a website filled with digital content and services. Established in 1848, the Boston Public Library has pioneered public library service in America. It was the first publicly supported municipal library in America, the first public library to lend books, the first to have a branch library, and the first to have a children’s room. Each year, the Boston Public Library hosts thousands of programs and serves millions of people. All of its programs and exhibitions are free and open to the public. At the Boston Public Library, books are just the beginning. To learn more, visit