Going Once, Going Twice...at the Boston Public Library

The Boston Public Library is poised to sell or even give away a handful of items from its extensive special collection, as the landmark institution culls its vast holdings.

So far, the library's collections committee has discussed parting with three items, according to minutes from meetings: a Crehore piano, the first type of piano made in the US, a series of large-scale Audubon prints, and a collection of Tichnor glass printing plates that were once used to make postcards. The library has had the Aububon prints since the mid-1800s, while the piano and glass plates were acquired in the last several years.

Library officials stressed that these discussions are not related to the city's budget crunch, which will force the library to cut $4 million from its $48 million budget for the next fiscal year. Instead, a top library curator said the collection is reviewed on a daily basis, and the committee in charge of the buying and selling meets every two months.

Selling off work "is a small part of what we do," said Brian Clancy, head of the committee that oversees the collection. "Our decision-making is not influenced by these economic times."

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