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COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Response

The Athenæum is closed temporarily due to the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak.

An Update from the Director

I hope all are doing well during this unprecedented and uncertain time. The Athenæum staff continues in good health and spirits. We are working from home, connecting with each other through phone calls, video meetings, and emails. We're redoubling our efforts to remain present for our members including offering additional online programs, interviews, and other interesting sessions.
In light of the continued health threats of the COVID-19 virus, the building will remain closed for the foreseeable future. We are continuing to monitor the situation and will reopen when it is safe to do so. Thank you for your ongoing support.
Amy Ryan
Stanford Calderwood Director, Interim


In-person member and visitor activities planned during this time, including lecture and concert programs, class visits, meetings, and discussion groups, are being rescheduled or canceled. We will honor refunds for those who have purchased event tickets.

Please check events listings and our social media feeds regularly for a growing number of online book talks, lectures, and other events you can join from home. We are sending our most timely updates via email; all are welcome to join our email list here.

Reader Services

Library staff are responding to emails and voicemails to provide online services, including help with electronic resources. They are available during regular open hours. Call (617) 227-0270 x302 or email

Discussion groups are deciding individually whether to hold virtual meetings during the closure. The BA is providing online videoconference access to encourage groups to continue meeting. A new, online-only, weekly group, Short & Sweet, discusses a short story each week, finding ones freely available online. Call or email the library to join.

All in-person services, including book borrowing and returns, are suspended, with overdue fines waived.

Staff and Facilities

All hourly and salaried employees will continue to be compensated during the closure, with much of their work continuing remotely. The building’s security and climate maintenance systems and procedures will remain in effect at all times. Crews have completed a thorough cleaning under the direction of facilities and security staff.

We care foremost about the people of the Athenæum and Boston communities. We will remain vigilant and respond prudently to this unprecedented situation, and look forward to offering a warm welcome again after we reopen.


Information about the COVID-19 coronavirus