Guidelines for Using Special Collections

Special Collections


Special collection material may be accessed through:

  1. On-Line (Research Library Collection (1974-) and Microfiche catalogs are available in public service departments.
  2. Public service departments within the Research Library, listed under "Central Library" or "Research and Specialized Services" at this site.
  3. Finding aids or inventories available through the department administering the collection.

The Alice M. Jordan Collection materials are stored off site and require a minimum of 24 hours notice to be retrieved. To request Jordan collection materials:

  1. Fill out a Library request slip for each title.
  2. Submit the request slips at the Delivery Desk (9 a.m. - 9 p.m., Monday – Thursday, 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 1 p.m. – 5 p. m. Sundays when the Library is open).
  3. It will take at least 24 hours to retrieve the material from the storage facility.
  4. Jordan material must be used in the Rare Books Reading Room (hours and directions).
  5. Patrons can request that materials be held for continued use.



No fees are charged for on-site use of special collection material. Photoduplication requests (photocopies, photographs, microfilm) and transfer requests (audio and film material) are subject to fees, item condition, copyright and donor restrictions. Please inquire about publication fees.


The copyright law of the United States (Title 17 U.S. Code) governs the making of photocopies or other reproduction of copyrighted material.

Patrons should be aware that the Library cannot waive copyright as it applies to materials in its holdings or grant permission to publish copyrighted materials.

Support of Special Collections

The Library welcomes the interest of individuals and organizations that may be considering the donation of collections which will enhance the Library's special collection resources or develop new avenues of research. Financial gifts enable the Library to:

Contacting Us

Please send your inquiry to the appropriate department at the following address: Research Library, Boston Public Library, 700 Boylston St., Copley Square, Boston, MA 02116.

Library Telephone: 617.536.5400


Book Delivery/Research Library Stacks: 617.536.5400

Fine Arts: 617.536.5400 (e-mail:

Music: 617.536.5400 (e-mail:

Prints: 617.536.5400 (e-mail:

Rare Books: 617.536.5400 (e-mail:

Research Services: 617.536.5400 (e-mail:

Special Collections: 617.536.5400 (e-mail:

Fax number: 617.536.5400