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John J. Burns Library


Research & Teaching

Boston College's special collections and rare books, including the University’s Archives, are housed in the John J. Burns Library, located in the Bapst Library Building, north entrance.

John J. Burns Library Reading Room Forms

When you visit the Reading Room to do research, bring your photo ID with you (license, passport or BC ID) so that you can fill out the Burns Registration Form.  If you plan to take your own photos or ask Burns staff to scan and e-mail materials to you, you'll also need to fill out a Copy Request Form.  Click on the PDF's below to view both of these forms and the Burns Photography Policy.  Please contact the Burns Library Reading Room at 617-552-4861 or if you have any questions. 

Special Collections Libraries in the Boston Area

Several other special collections libraries in the Boston area house wonderful materials and are also, like the John J. Burns Library, open to the public for research.  Please visit these websites below for more information:

Research in the Burns Library Reading Room

The John J. Burns Library Reading Room is a secure, quiet room reserved for researchers using Burns Library materials. The John J. Burns Library is open to all researchers regardless of academic affiliation. We can be reached during open hours at 617-552-4861 or

Burns Library Reading Room

When you arrive at the Burns Library, you'll be asked to sign in at the security desk and then to put your coats and hats, bags, laptop cases, pens, and food or drink in a locker. Ask the security guard for a locker key.

Don't forget to bring your photo ID (BC ID, driver's license or passport) with you into the Reading Room.  You'll need this ID to fill out the Registration Form and your ID will also be held at the Reading Room Desk.  Feel free to bring your laptop into the Reading Room - outlets and a wireless internet connection are available.

If you are interested in making copies of any Burns Library materials for your research purposes, then please consult a Burns Library staff member about your requests. Depending on the copryight status and physical condition of the materials requested, you may either take your own photographs or ask Burns Library staff members to scan and e-mail images to you. Please see our Copy Request Form and Reading Room Photography Policy for more details.

Burns librarians and archivists are available to answer questions, recommend research strategies, and to provide class and individual instruction.  Research requests will be handled as time and the availability of the staff allows.  Contact us at 617-552-4861 or to learn more.

Helpful Handouts

These are handouts created for library instruction and other purposes that may prove useful to a wider audience. Please use them as you see fit.

Using Burns Materials in Classes

We are available to provide instruction and support for your class, group or campus tour.  Since these sessions are held at the Burns Library, they are tailored to balance your research and teaching needs with the conservation and security of unique Burns materials.

If you are interested in holding a session for your class or group at the Burns Library, please e-mail the Burns Library Reference Department at or call us at 617-552-4861.