6. The Boston Athenaeum
Boston Athenæum is one of the oldest independent libraries in the United States. It is also one of only sixteen extant membership libraries, meaning that patrons pay a yearly subscription fee to use the Athenæum’s services. The institution was founded in 1807 by the Anthology Club of Boston, Massachusetts. Just as a museum is a place for the muses who inspire art, so an athenæum is a place for Athena, the goddess of wisdom who inspires intellectual pursuits.