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The Boston Public Library

June 13, 1926: The play of light on the marble of the grand staircase lead one up to the twin lions on pedestals at the turn of the stairs. The lions were made from unpolished Siena marble by sculptor Louis Saint-Gaudens. They are memorials to the Second and Twentieth Massachusetts Civil War infantry regiments.Boston Globe Archives

On March 11, 1895, the people of Boston were privileged to experience the beauty and wealth of resources provided by their new Boston Public Library at the McKim building in Copley Square. This jewel of the city was the country’s first publicly funded municipal library and the first library to allow its citizens to borrow books. It is a National Historic Landmark. It was created by legislation of the General Court of Massachusetts in March 1848 and the collection was first housed in a schoolhouse on Mason Street in 1854. The value of the BPL and the concept of libraries is boundless — it is hard to imagine the city without this national treasure. - Leanne Burden Seidel and Lisa Tuite