If I had to choose a library anywhere in the world, the Boston Public Library is my hands-down favorite. As a student, I spent many hours here, studying, seeking shelter from the biting cold and admiring its architectural wonders. Adding to its iconic stature is its central location in Copley Square and its distinction as the first free public library in the US.
The original location was a schoolhouse on Mason Street in downtown Boston. As the city grew, the current location in Back Bay opened in 1895. As you walk up the staircase embedded with fossils, don’t forget to look up at the mosaic tiles featuring the names of famous Massachusetts residents like Emerson and Longfellow. They were inlaid by Italian immigrant craftsmen living in Boston’s famous North End neighborhood.
Every corner has something that you will admire or want to learn about. On the third floor is a mural by John Singer Sargent who painted the panels in England and travelled to Boston to oversee their installation.
The pièce de résistance is the courtyard which will transport you to a palazzo in Rome. Boston is a city of students and as you walk along the courtyard you can see them studying, listening to music, meeting friends and enjoying music concerts.
The extension to the main building was constructed in the 1960s on Boylston Street. And yes, I haven’t mentioned the books yet. If books are your passion, they are all here in this ‘Palace for the People’ where everyone is welcome. Thanks to digital access, the books have reached many more.