Boston Public Library is at 700 Boylston St. in Copley Square. Formed in 1848, this is believed to have been the nation's first public library and the first to allow individuals to borrow books and materials. The facility hosts many revolving exhibits throughout the year and also features an extensive collection of rare books and manuscripts.
Trained volunteers offer guided tours focusing on the 1895 McKim Building's art and architecture. The library's permanent exhibits include such mural paintings as Edwin Austin Abbey's “The Quest of the Holy Grail” and John Singer Sargent's “Triumph of Religion” as well as the works of other American artists and sculptors.