Engage with our books! The Athenæum’s wide-ranging collections, both rare and contemporary, represent the reading and acquisition tastes of Providence over the course of three centuries.
All are welcome to use the Athenæum as a resource, whether for personal enjoyment or scholarly research. The public is encouraged to use our collections within the building; members have borrowing privileges as described below.
Loan periods for all items are specified by type, below. Overdue fines are $.10 per day, except for DVDs which are $1.00 per day.
New Fiction | 2 weeks
New Non-Fiction | 4 weeks
Special Permission Books | 2 weeks
Item Limits by Membership Type
Household/Individual/Individual Under 35 | unlimited books; up to 6 A/V items
Introductory | 8 books; up to 6 A/V items
Student | up to 5 items (books and/or A/V materials)
RISD | up to 5 items (books and/or up to 4 A/V materials)
DVDs and travel guides are renewable once. All other materials may be renewed if there are no holds on the item. To renew checked out items, please call the Circulation Desk at 401-421-6970 or login to your library account through the shared RISD/Athenæum catalog (the Circulation Desk will provide your barcode number on request).
Discover new content, borrow all your favorites, and save future reads with the cloudLibrary! The Athenæum now offers popular eBooks through the cloudLibrary digital lending platform. All you need to get started is your library ID number. To receive your ID number, please contact the Circulation Desk at 401-421-6970 or email Circulation Supervisor Mary Brower at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Step 1: Download the cloudLibrary App on your mobile device, e-reader, or computer.
Step 2: Visit the Providence Athenæum cloudLibrary site. Select the Country, State, and Providence Athenæum, then enter your library ID number. Click agree to terms and log in.
Step 3: Browse, borrow, and start reading!
Members can check out any number of titles at one time and keep them for up to 14 days. Titles will be returned automatically after 14 days, but you can check them out again immediately if there is not a hold on the item. The cloudLibrary app is compatible with the following devices: iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch, Android Phones, Android Tablets, NOOK Tablets, NOOK eReaders, Kobo eReaders, and Kindle Fires.
To request an item that is not already in the Athenæum’s collection, please fill out the form below or contact Technical Services Librarian Brendan Ryan at email@example.com.
Our Reference Librarian can assist you with any question, be it a general inquiry or research-oriented. A particular strength of the Athenæum’s Reference Collection is the Rhode Island Collection, which brings together all reference books related to the history and life of Rhode Islanders. If our resources do not yield the answers you are looking for, the Librarian can offer referrals to other relevant collections in the area. Please contact Reference Librarian/Special Collections Assistant Stephanie Knott at firstname.lastname@example.org.