United States of AmericaBoston

About the Boston Public Library

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The Central Library in Copley Square actually encompasses two buildings. Both Boston Public Library locations are landmarks in their own right. The first is the historic Boston Public Library McKim building, designed by architect Charles Follen McKim (opened in 1895) which houses the Library’s distinguished research and special collections. 

McKim famously referred to the building as his “palace of the people”, voicing his passion and sense of achievement for completing the project.

The Boylston Street Building (formerly the Johnson building) was designed by Philip Johnson and opened for the first time in 1972, later reopening in 2016 following an award-winning renovation by William Rawn Associates, Architects, Inc.

Interesting to Know

How to get to the Boston Public Library?

BPL is a leisurely 3-minute walk away from the Back Bay train station, which is easily accessible via the Franklin Line, Needham Line, Northeast Regional and/or Providence/Stoughton Lines.

You could also take the bus, which are usually every 3-5 minutes on weekdays from Boston Transit in the city center. This method takes ~10 minutes overall.

In case you need it, the Boston Public Library address is 700 Boylston Street

Boston, MA 02116.

Is the Boston Public Library Open?

As for Boston Public Library hours (at the time of writing) they’re open from 9am til 8pm Monday-Thursday, 9am til 5pm Friday-Saturday and 11am til 5pm on Sundays.

What to see at the Boston Public Library

The Boston Public Library has a whole host of activities you can see and do most days, such as public and private art & architectural tours, student groups and some volunteer opportunities – that’s not even including all the books they have!

The physical library is just the tip of the iceberg, too, as the Boston Public Library has put some serious time, funds and effort into strengthening its web presence and online library services over the past few years. They’re even working on a remote 3D tour of the interior which should be available to experience soon!

Can you take pictures at the Boston Public Library?

To more or less cite the Boston Public Library website, “photographing/filming/audio recording of members of the public, Library staff and public programs (unless permission has been granted in advance by the Library) are prohibited.” 

With that in mind, it’s as simple as asking staff for their permission, but so long as your pictures don’t include visitors/staff, it should be ok. Try your best not to disturb others with loud shutter sounds and, of course, avoid flash photography.

Where to park at the Boston Public Library?

Boston Public Library parking, unfortunately, is non-existent, as it doesn’t include any onsite parking. However, there is an area 5 minutes walk away from the library where you can park for free (up to 2 hours) off Garrison Street 

If that location doesn’t have any free space, there’s another free parking area just off Follen Street. There’s also some cheap parking in the region, but no one wants to pay through the nose for a trip to the library, right? There are various websites, including the one above, that you can use to locate the cheapest spots by distance.

Fun things to do near the Boston Public Library?

Besides the activities already mentioned, there’s always trying one of our city exploration games/self-guided tours. They’re just the thing for if you’re looking to see some sights and discover the area surrounding the Boston Public Library in a whole new light! 

Stop, pause and continue at your own pace. Step into a gripping fictional narrative whilst solving bespoke challenges, brought to you by our top-notch team of writers. In doing so, you’ll see gorgeous sights and learn lesser-known facts about each location featured in the game, just by walking.

All this is made possible by our award-winning app.

Walking around outside the Boston Public Library and craning your neck to stare at your phone has never been more exciting!

Don’t take our word for it, here’s what our customers are saying:

Colleen - 5 stars - May 2022

Harvard Yard Boston: The Mysterious Porcellian Club

“Super fun way to see the Harvard campus and learn some interesting history along the way.”

David Moss - 5 stars - Nov 2021

Historical Boston: The Record Breaker

“very fun walk around town”

You can book a self-guided walking tour of Boston with Questo here. As of the time of writing, there are four to choose from!

Games with About the Boston Public Library

During these game you will be able to visit this amazing attraction

Frequently Asked Questions


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