I had passed the Boston Athenaeum’s rich red door surrounded by an ornate brown outer door a few times before actually stopping to read its name on a sign. That’s when I connected the dots. This was the same independent library that had been praised by magazine articles for its splendid architecture. Books + architecture + history. That made for an irresistible combination. On a public holiday, I found myself outside the same red door, my impatience and excitement well in tow.
While non-members are restricted from carrying big bags or laptops inside, the ambiance more than makes up for the strict rules. Access to the library’s first floor is open to all and the surroundings are elegant to say the least! Book lovers will marvel at the colorful and interesting manner in which the books are organized. Sunlight streams in from the floor to ceiling windows that lend a clear view of the Granary Burying Ground. On a sunny day, reading by the window on the Athenaeum’s cushy sofas is nearly as close to bliss as it can get.
Aside from a small hall that doubles up to be an event room, there is a gallery with ongoing exhibitions and a members only newspaper reading room. The second and third floors are accessible to members only, but I can’t wait to see them over a free art & architecture tour that the library offers!