The Boston Public Library was the first large municipally-funded public library in America.  It has a central location right in the heart of Copley Square, facing the Trinity Church, easily accessible by taking the Green Line to Copley station (or also near to Orange Line Back Bay stop).  The library has two buildings: the original building known as the McKim building (for its architect, Charles Follen McKim) houses the research library as well as a map collection and the new building  known as the Johnson building (for Philip Johnson) offers ciruclating books and internet connection.  

The basement of the Johnson building is home to the audio-visual collection, an area for college research, and the ever-important restrooms.  There is also an auditorium and conference rooms.  The first floor houses mostly fiction books, arranged in alphabetical order by the author’s last name, as well as the large print collection and the Children’s Room.  The mezzanine level holds the foreign language collection and the Young Adults Room (adults who try to sneak in will likely get booted by the YA librarians).  Finally, the second floor holds all the nonfiction books, ordered by call number.  You can look up the call number and availability of books at the numerous computer kiosks available around the library.

One of the highlights of the BPL is its courtyard, a quiet oasis from the bustling city.  You will often see people lunching there or simply taking a nice nap on the huge woodenbenches.  You can also bring your laptop and take advantage of the free WiFi (as long as you have a library card).  The BPL has a cafe (the Map Room Cafe) where you can get sandwich and a cup of coffee, etc.  There is also a restaurant called Novel which serves lunch and tea.  Public restrooms are available in the basement and on the first floor of the McKim building as well.

The McKim building is listed on the AIA's top 150 buildings in America.  You can take a free tour of the Art & Architecture of the building. Tours are as follows:  Monday at 2:30 p.m., Tuesday & Thursday at 6:00 p.m., Wednesday, Friday, Saturday at 11 a.m.  The building features mural work by prominent nineteenth century artists, including John Singer Sargent and wonderful sculptures as well. 

The Friends of the Library holds great used booksales every couple of months (with most prices ranging from $0.25–$1) in the Mezzanine Conference Room. Paperbacks, hardcovers, cookbooks, children's books, VHS tapes, records and CDs are all for sale. Check their website at for upcoming dates.

The library is open Monday–Thursday 9am–9pm; Fridays and Saturdays 9am–5pm; there are also Sunday (1–5 pm) hours when school is in session (October–May).