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Rare Books and Manuscripts Department

Rare Books and Manuscripts Dept.
Boston Public Library
Boylston St. Building, 3rd Floor
700 Boylston St.
Boston, Massachusetts 02116

Contact info
Day                 Hours
Monday:          TBA
Tuesday:         TBA
Wednesday:    TBA
Thursday:        TBA
Friday:             TBA
Saturday:        CLOSED
Sunday:          CLOSED


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Frequently Asked Questions


Do I need special permission to use BPL's rare books?

  • No! You do not need special permission, credentials, or expertise to visit our reading room.
  • Everyone is welcome to use our collections.
  • See the Visit section of this website for further information.

I have some old books, what are they worth?

  • As public librarians, we can not provide an appraisal of your books.
  • Establishing the market value of rare books and manuscripts requires specialized expertise.
  • Many people who wish to establish the value of their books or collections turn to booksellers who specialize in appraisals.

Can I donate rare books and manuscripts to the BPL?

Yes! The Rare Books and Manuscripts Department is grateful for the support of our community. Offers to donate books and manuscripts are always appreciated. Donation offers will be carefully considered by our staff.

In order to help us determine whether the materials you want to donate fit in with our collecting strategy, please consider the following before you send any materials to the library:

  • Before you send anything, always contact us first
  • The more specific you can be about what you have, the better
  • Lists with author, title, year, etc., are extremely helpful
  • Pictures are also extremely useful
  • We are not able to provide you with an appraisal of your donation

While we appreciate the fact that some donors might wish to remain anonymous, we will not open envelopes or packages without valid return addresses. For our own safety, envelopes and packages without valid return addresses will be discarded.