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Member Benefits

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.
Any temporary limitations due to the pandemic are noted below.

Library Privileges

  • Easily accessible 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;
  • Ability to 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;
  • Personalized reference and reader services assistance;
  • Access to an extensive collection of nearly 500 periodicals, including newspapers, magazines, and journals;
  • Quick and friendly assistance with ILL (Interlibrary Loan) Requests;
  • Book mailing service;
  • Generous lending times and short waiting periods for popular books.

Building and Events Access

  • Access to twelve levels of beautiful space for reading, reflection, and open-stack browsing, including the iconic, silent fifth floor reading room;
  • Invitations and discounted ticketing to book talks, lectures, gallery openings, and other events;
  • Ability to join more than 20 members-only book discussion groups;
  • Members-only tours and curator-led orientations;
  • Free and unlimited access to exhibitions;
  • Privilege of inviting guests to join you for Athenæum events or a private tour of the building

(The library is mostly open! Ten of twelve floors are accessible to members; floors 3 and 3G are staff-only. All events and tours are virtual for now. Please email or call us with questions.)

Online and Electronic Benefits

  • Web access, anytime and anywhere, to
    • LexisNexis (news and business)
    • JSTOR
    • Project Muse
    • Art Full Text
    • and much more; browse our offerings.

Children's Library Benefits

  • Access to the Chris Library Preschool Room and C.A. Coolidge Young Reader's Room;
  • Ability to check out books from the Children’s Library’s circulating collection;
  • Access to a wide range of recurring free events for ages 0-18, including programs for babies, story times (three each week), Spanish Story Time, LEGO® Club, and teen writing and DIY workshops;
  • Ability to join any of 3 book discussion groups serving ages 6-18 and Comics Club;
  • Free or reduced admission to monthly family events, including author/illustrator talks, art workshops, and performances;
  • Participation in annual Summer Reading program;
  • Personalized recommendations and curated book lists;
  • Weekly updates about children’s programs via e-newsletter;
  • Option to add a caregiver/nanny to your Family membership account in order to accompany children to the Children's Library.

(The Children's Library is now open by reservation on Saturdays between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Call Membership at (617) 720-7604 to reserve a time. Activities are suspended for now, except for free and publicly-accessible Facebook Live Story Times three mornings per week.)


And More...