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As the oldest large free-lending library in America, the Boston Public Library was designed as a “palace for the people.” The McKim building includes a children’s room, the first in the country, and a sculpture garden with an arcaded gallery surrounding it. When facing the Copley Square side, the library façade resembles a 16th century Italian palace. Bates Hall is the library’s magnificent reading room, named after the library’s original benefactor Joshua Bates.