The actual rare books collection is vast and any books that are not accessible, the library can order for you. It’s beneficial to see marginalia, see the bindings of books, loose paper that you can read right there and see because you are physically looking at the books. EBooks often don’t include this marginalia and other noteworthy information. Furthermore, the librarians working are very helpful and knowledgeable. Also, using the Document Analysis worksheet was more beneficial at the library because the books were right there in front of you. Seeing the books in person allows you to report more on the Document Analysis worksheet than just looking at the EBook version. Coming to the BPL, you are able to meet people interested in the same type of scholarship.
There are general concerns of the fragility of the books. The books were flaking and the oils on our hands can damage the books even more. Also, it is cumbersome to actually have to travel into Boston and register with the office ahead of time if you are with a large group. Additionally, it is difficult to get a BPL library card if you are from out of state. The Card Catalog is not digitized, so everything is still written on index cards, which is challenging when searching for books. Finally, the Rare Books Room is not easily handicap accessible.