Thousands of books and several antiques and works of art were damaged after a water leak led to flooding of the Boston Athenaeum, a membership library more than 200 years old, officials said. The flooding started on the first floor of the building on Beacon Street and spread to the Long Room, the Newspaper Reading Room, the Bow Room, and the Children’s Library and seeped into the basement at several locations, librarian Paula D. Matthews said in a statement. The Athenaeum will be closed until further notice while library officials examine the damage to various collections and determine which objects will require specialized conservation treatment, Matthews said. The Boston Athenaeum was founded in 1807 and is one of the oldest independent libraries in the United States.
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