- For Members
The Circulation Desk at the Boston Athenæum is located on the first floor of the building, just beyond the Security Desk.
Here you may check books in and out, reserve books, sign up for Art & Architecture tours or meet for New Member tours, and ask brief reference questions. If you have longer research inquiries, a Reference Librarian on the second floor will be happy to help you. For more information on research and reference please see Reader Services.
Members can recommended books for the Athenæum to purchase at the Circulation desk or via the online form.
The Athenæum has several Kindles available at the Circulation Desk, which may be checked out for 14 days at a time, and two iPads, which may be checked out and used in the library for two hours at a time.
Lists: Selected New Books | Books Related to Events at the Boston Athenæum | Staff Recommendations | Pulitzer Prizewinners | Man Booker Prizewinners | Massachusetts Book Awards | Down in the Dumps | Top 100 Titles 2002-2012 | Top 100 Authors 2002-2012 |
If you prefer to work online, you may request and reserve books via “Athena,” the Athenæum's online catalog. Simply bring up the appropriate record and hit the “Request” tab on the red bar above the record entry. You will be prompted to input your last name exactly as it appears on your membership card, along with your ID number, which is the short number on the front of your card. A comment box will appear where you may leave a note as to whether you would like the book mailed or to receive a confirmation email instead of a phone call, and so forth.
Please be aware that these online requests are not “delivered” to the Circulation Desk until the following morning. If you need the book immediately, we advise you to call either Circulation (x221) or Reference (x291) directly.
- You may renew books and reserve books over the phone by dialing 617-227-0270, x 221. You may also renew books online once.
- If you need a second renewal or your books have become overdue, you will have to call Circulation to initiate the renewal process.
- Books stay “New” for at least six months.
- New Books may be checked out for 14 days and renewed again so long as no one has put a hold on them in the interim. After six months, books may be taken out for 60 days. The renewal process is the same as for 14-day books.
Overdue and Lost Books
If a book is overdue for more than 30 days, the electronic circulation system will automatically mark the book “lost” and the member will be assessed a processing fee as well as a fine to replace the book at its current market value.
We Mail Books!
We do mail (point or normal) sized books. Members are charged for all outgoing postage accrued during the calendar year. We will send a return address sticker with the package. Return postage is the borrower’s responsibility. Book mailing service details