Rare Books Department

3rd Floor, McKim Building, Central Library

Rare Books & Manuscripts Department Closing for Inventory & Capital Improvements; Limited Hours conclude April 27, 2017

Thank you for your interest in using collections held in the Boston Public Library’s Rare Books & Manuscripts Department.

Starting in February 2017, the library began an inventory of the Rare Books & Manuscripts Department’s nearly 250,000 rare books and one million manuscripts, in preparation for substantial environmental and mechanical improvements to the Department’s spaces.

To accommodate this work, rare books and manuscript materials have been available to view in the public reading room only on Thursdays (9:00am-4:45pm) since February 2017, and this will conclude on Thursday, April 27, 2017. Materials from the collection may only be viewed on Thursdays with 48-hours advance notice. The library is honoring all appointments through that date. Project projections indicate that the Rare Books & Manuscripts Department may need to remain closed through 2019.

For more information, please email us at rare_books@bpl.org or call 617.859.2225.

Remote reference services will also be available, and patrons may visit https://archive.org/details/bostonpubliclibrary and >www.digitalcommonwealth.org to view a portion of the Library’s special collections online.

We deeply apologize for the inconvenience. Please direct any questions regarding collections or the closure to Head of Special Collections Beth Prindle (617.859.2379, bprindle@bpl.org) or Chief of Collections Laura Irmscher (617.859.2141, lirmscher@bpl.org).

The Rare Books and Manuscripts Department serves as the Boston Public Library's principal repository of rare books, manuscripts and historical artifacts of permanent or enduring value collected for their intellectual content and historical significance. The primary mission of the department and its staff is to preserve and create access to these collections through collection development, cataloging, reference services, interpretive programs and exhibitions, and conservation, in order to make them accessible to the scholarly community and the general public.

Exhibits, Past
Internet Resources
Photo reproduction
Use of the Department