Boston Athenæum members provide nearly one-fifth of the institution's annual operating funds with their annual dues. In return, members enjoy a wide range of benefits.
Building and Events Access
- Spend time in twelve levels of beautiful space for reading, reflection, and open-stack browsing, including the iconic fifth floor reading room;
- Receive invitations and discounted ticketing to book talks, lectures, gallery openings, and other events;
- Meet other members and join more than 20 members-only book discussion groups;
- Take members-only tours and curator-led orientations;
- Enjoy free and unlimited access to exhibitions;
- Bring guests with you to Athenæum events or a private tour of the building
(The library is open and in-person tours have resumed! All events are virtual for now. Please email or call us with questions.)
- Check out books from the library's continuously expanding circulating and reference collection of more than 500,000 volumes, many not available in public libraries;
- Listen to cloudLibrary's wide selection of eAudiobooks, which may be checked out to your phone, tablet, or computer, providing access to in-demand titles with shorter waiting times than other libraries;
- Find personalized reference and reader services assistance;
- Access an extensive collection of nearly 500 periodicals, including newspapers, magazines, and journals;
- Read newspapers including the Boston Globe, Boston Herald, New York Times, Financial Times, Wall Street Journal , and the Sunday Washington Post in the Gordon Newspaper Reading Room;
- Get quick and friendly assistance with ILL (Interlibrary Loan) requests;
- Take advantage of a book mailing service with free outbound postage;
- Enjoy generous lending times and short waiting periods for popular books.
Online and Electronic Benefits
- Access online resources, anytime and anywhere:
- LexisNexis (news and business)
- Project Muse
- Art Full Text
- and much more; browse our offerings.
Children's Library Benefits
- Access Children's Library spaces;
- Check out books from the Children’s Library’s circulating collection;
- Access recurring free events for ages 0-18;
- Gain free or reduced admission to family events, including author/illustrator talks, art workshops, and performances;
- Seek personalized recommendations and curated book lists;
- Receive regular updates about children’s programs via e-newsletter;
- Add a caregiver/nanny to your Family membership in order to accompany children to the Children's Library.
(The Children's Library is now open on Saturdays between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Come see us!)
- Reciprocal privileges, including free or discounted admission, at over 1,000 museums in North America;
- Discounted parking at night and/or on the weekends at the Boston Common Garage;
- Reciprocal privileges with the New York Society Library. This includes use of their reading rooms for five visits per year, permission to browse the stacks, and the ability check out one book at a time (please check their website for any additional restrictions related to the pandemic);
- Offers from our partners (past offers include discounted or complimentary passes to Ellis Boston, the International Fine Arts Show, the Boston Print Fair, A Far Cry virtual concerts, and more);
- Copies of our weekly e-newsletter; print newsletter and events guide, and more;
- Eligibility to volunteer when opportunities become available.