McKim Master Plan Update

McKim Master Plan Update

The Boston Public Library is undertaking a master planning study with the intention to restore, renovate, and reimagine portions of the Central Library’s McKim Building, a National Historic Landmark in Copley Square. This project will look at improving access and performance, with a special focus on the Library’s special collections, and providing enhanced opportunities for education, interpretation, and engagement.

One area of focus will be the existing third floor, which is currently inaccessible to the public due to its unsuitable condition for staff, public service, or collections.

The goal for this area is to provide an educational and cultural destination through engagement with the Library’s special and research collections in new and compelling ways.

The second area of focus will be the building’s exterior. The master plan will reimagine the Dartmouth Street plaza and entrance, not only improving accessibility, but also exploring how to use the plaza as a publicly engaging civic hub and urban destination within the heart of Boston.

To supplement these design ideas, the study will involve evaluating the existing building systems, art and architecture conditions, special collections, back-of-house operations, public interfaces, exterior façade, and issues of accessibility in order to uncover opportunities for improvement. The master planning process began in late August 2020 and will span approximately 12 months. The deliverables are to include cost estimates to support potential City of Boston capital and private funding requests and campaigns.

We look forward to engaging with the public during this important process, as we explore how to preserve and enhance this National Historic Landmark, while opening new spaces to expand the Library’s services and fulfill the needs of ever-broader audiences.

Boston Public Library, working closely with the City of Boston’s Public Facilities Department, has hired a team of Shepley Bulfinch and Design Lab Architects to lead this project.


McKim Master Plan Community Survey

McKim Master Plan Community Meeting 10.28.2020

McKim Master Plan Community Meeting 12.15.2020

McKim Master Plan Community Meeting 06.03.2021

Back to Top