Boston, MA

Boston Public Library's Instagrammable History

The Fiction Addiction

The Boston Public Library's main branch is located right off the Copley T stop in the heart of Boston. This lovely historical building holds books, maps, and research resources, and it also holds some beautiful and Instagram-worthy photo spots for any book lover to enjoy.
Great photo of the Bates Reading RoomPhoto byBrian Johnson

Before you even go inside, the exterior of the library makes a lovely Instagram background. The main branch of the Boston Public Library, also known as the McKim Building, was built in 1895. The McKim Building is described as a perfect example of the Beaux-Arts architectural style, which is characterized by grandeur, symmetry, and ornate details. It's that classic style of Grand Central, the Met, and the NYPL, too.

Immediately inside, the library lions on the marble stairs make an eye-catching photo. This WBUR article explains the history of these lions and how they came to be left unpolished. This makes a great scene for a photo.

Further in, don’t miss the Bates Hall Reading Room. This reading room, with high ceilings, great light and symmetry, makes a perfect backdrop for a photo with a stack of books or a thoughtful reading picture. The natural light creates a warm atmosphere for readers, and is good for photos, too. You’ve probably seen this one on Instagram before, it’s a classic. It's also the setting for Sulari Gentill's popular mystery novel, The Woman in the Library. But be quiet and maybe even a little bit sneaky in your photo-taking here, since many patrons use this room to study.

Fans intrigued by the building’s architecture and details can take the Art & Architecture tour around the main branch to learn more about the building, and spot new Insta-worthy sites.

Another popular spot for bookish photos is the McKim Building's courtyard. This peaceful outdoor space is surrounded by beautiful architecture. The pretty greenery, classic columns and natural light help make this a lovely spot for summertime reading and for great photos of your reading or favorite books.

The Leventhal Map & Education Center, usually just called the Map Room, has more interesting things to see and photograph. Their Instagram is full of intriguing map details. Again, there’s so much see and take in, and a lot of unique photos to capture here, just don’t let your Instagramming interfere with other patrons.

For nostalgia vibes, take a peep into the children's room during your visit. This lovely room with bright murals and mini reading chairs is only meant for kids and their caretakers, so just take a look, not a photo here.

The Boston Public Library's main branch offers some beautiful, unique and Insta-worthy backdrops for bookish photos, but it’s not the only bookish spot in Boston. If you have more time, Boston’s full of indie bookshops and smaller branch libraries for book lovers to enjoy and photograph.

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Boston, MA

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