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Planning Your Safe Visit

March 9, 2021

We're open!
We're pleased to welcome members, Day Pass users, and the public, who can tour the first floor of our landmark building and see artworks from the special collections.


To help us meet state occupancy requirements, all are asked to reserve time in the building in advance.
  • Call the Membership staff at (617)720-7604 during our regular opening hours to book time in the building.
  • Same-day reservations are often available.




  • Most spaces are open for members' use, including the Gordon Newspaper Reading Room; the first, second, fourth, and fifth floors and their galleries; Upper Pilgrim (the Art & Architecture library) and the basement stacks in 10½; Lower Pilgrim; and the Drum stacks. The Children's Library is open by appointment on Saturdays between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m.

  • Floors 3 and 3G are reserved for staff only. The librarians will retrieve books for you from there; just ask!
  • Reservations open Friday mornings for the week ahead starting on Monday. Please call the Membership team at (617) 720-7604 to schedule your visit.
  • We book reservations one week at a time.
  • You can reserve flexibly: a full day or just a half hour, as you wish.
  • We don't have a system in place for self-service booking; we can only take reservations by telephone.
  • You need an appointment to enter beyond the lobby, although you can make a spur-of-the-moment decision to come in and we'll happily welcome you (as long as we have not reached the capacity limits).
  • Questions? Visit our FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) page, or give us a call!



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

In-person member and visitor activities, including lecture and concert programs, class visits, rentals, and meetings, are suspended.

Reader Services

Library staffers are providing services during our regular open hours, including help with electronic resources. Call (617) 227-0270 x302, email, or make an appointment to come in by calling the Membership line at (617) 720-7604.

Most of our discussion groups are meeting virtually. The BA is providing online videoconference access.

In-person reader services, including book borrowing and returns, continue to be available as usual during our open hours, except for the closure of certain floors and spaces (see above).

Staff and Facilities

All hourly and salaried employees were compensated through COVID-19 related closures, with much of their work continuing remotely. The building’s security and climate maintenance systems and procedures have remained in effect at all times. Crews have completed thorough cleanings under the direction of facilities and security staff, who continue to maintain the building every day.

We care foremost about the people of the Athenæum and Boston communities. We look forward to offering you a warm welcome when you come in!

Information about the COVID-19 coronavirus and the Massachusetts response