Boston Public Library Reaches 100,000 Items Digitized and Accessible

BOSTON - May 25, 2016 - Boston Public Library recently added its 100,000th digitized item to Digital Commonwealth, providing access to digital resources of cultural heritage organizations throughout Massachusetts. Collections in include thousands of images, documents, and sound recordings from member institutions which are openly accessible to researchers, students, and the intellectually curious. 

“Boston Public Library’s collections are extensive and making them available online is a key way of delivering on our mission of access and education in the modern 24/7 connected world,” said David Leonard, Interim President of the Boston Public Library. “Digital Commonwealth is one way of showcasing the library’s digitization work to make our collections and those of our many statewide partners across the commonwealth discoverable by all.”

The 100,000th item was the print Hebron Barns, dating from 1938, of the Thomas W. Nason prints and drawings collection.  Items from the Boston Public Library in include the Boston Pictorial Archives, Fine and Historic Bookbindings, and the Anti-Slavery Collections of Distinction, Emily Dickinson letters and poems, images from Boston Herald-Traveler photographer Leslie Jones, postcards, prints, and more. Boston Public Library has digitized more than 152,000 items from its collection, which are housed on Digital and the Internet Archive.

“Providing collections digitally is increasingly important as seeking information online is a natural behavior, especially for youth,” said Tom Blake, Boston Public Library’s Digital Projects Manager. “Our hope is that after experiencing the BPL on our website and through, people will come in to our physical locations to view items as well.”

In late 2015, Boston Public Library renewed its commitment with Digital Commonwealth to maintain and expand as part of its statewide responsibilities as Library for the Commonwealth. Since 2010, the BPL has worked to digitize and preserve collections from more than 260 cultural institutions in 161 municipalities across Massachusetts, totaling 431,000  items in Digital Commonwealth. Recent organizations the BPL worked with to bring items into Digital Commonwealth include the USS Constitution Museum, Topsfield Historical Society, UMASS Amherst, and the West Yarmouth and Weymouth Public Libraries. 

In addition to its role as a partner to Digital Commonwealth, Boston Public Library serves as Library for the Commonwealth for the entire state of Massachusetts. Anyone who lives, works, or goes to school in Massachusetts can have a Boston Public Library card.


Boston Public Library has a Central Library, twenty-four branches, map center, business library, and a website filled with digital content and services. Established in 1848, the Boston Public Library has pioneered public library service in America. It was the first large free municipal library in the United States, the first public library to lend books, the first to have a branch library, and the first to have a children’s room. Each year, the Boston Public Library hosts thousands of programs and serves millions of people. All of its programs and exhibitions are free and open to the public. At the Boston Public Library, books are just the beginning. To learn more, visit

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