Athenæum members gain access to amazing collections, a remarkable history, fascinating programs, and a community of curious, interesting, and spirited people. Our mission is to enrich the mind, inspire the spirit, and elevate the public discourse. All are welcome.
Members enjoy many benefits, including borrowing privileges, prioritized access to library programs, exclusive participation in reading groups, and community partnerships. Explore membership benefits below.
BENEFITS FOR ALL MEMBERSHIP LEVELS
ADDITIONAL BENEFITS FOR HOUSEHOLD, INDIVIDUAL, & INDIVIDUAL UNDER 35 LEVELS
Household: $200 per year / $16.66 per month
Individual: $165 per year / $13.75 per month
Individual Under 35: $100 per year / $8.33 per month
Six-month Introductory (first-time members only; for individuals or families): $65
College Student: $45 per year
Household, Individual, and Individual Under 35 members may pay the full amount at the time of joining/renewal or opt to pay monthly. If you’d prefer to pay monthly, please call 401-421-6970. Please note these membership levels are a year-long commitment; no early termination is permitted.
The Athenæum also offers a special membership to all active Providence Public School teachers, free of charge. Click here for more information.
To easily compare membership levels, click here for a quick reference PDF.
All members enjoy:
- Priority registration and/or discounted access to programs and special events
- Borrowing privileges, including books, periodicals, DVDs, audiobooks, and CDs
- Access to all three floors of the Athenæum’s historic building, including mezzanine desks reserved for members
- Use of the recently restored mezzanine-level Art Room (by request)*
- Access to hoopla’s incredible digital collection of ebooks, audiobooks, movies, TV shows, and music (more information here)*
- Participation in the Athenæum’s popular reading groups, offered exclusively to members
- Staff-led tours to welcome new members and orient them in the library (email email@example.com for more details)
- Book requests filled through purchase or interlibrary loans*
- Generous loan periods and short waiting periods for popular or new titles
- Prioritized access to Special Collections
- 10% discount at the library shop
- Discounted tickets or subscriptions at The Gamm Theatre (click here for full details)
- (P.S. Dogs on leashes are welcome to accompany you inside the library – stop by the Circulation Desk for a treat!)
*Excludes student membership level
Household, Individual, and Individual Under 35 members also receive:
- Borrowing privileges of books and DVDs at RISD’s Fleet Library
- A complimentary Six-month Introductory membership to give to a friend/family once per year (email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information)
- A complimentary pair of tickets to a Rhode Island Chamber Music Concert, once per season
- Reciprocal privileges, including free or discounted admission, at over 1,000 museums through the North American Reciprocal Museum Association
- 20% discount on building rentals
Can I pay for my membership monthly?
Household, Individual, and Individual Under 35 members can pay for their memberships with 12 monthly payments. Visit or call the library (401-421-6970) to set up monthly payments. Please note this is a year-long commitment; no early termination is permitted.
May I bring a guest with me to the library or events?
Members are welcome to bring guests with them to visit the library! Many of our events offer member guest tickets, as well.
Will I receive a library card?
You will be sent a membership card when you join, but not a library card. As we get to know our members by name, you won’t need to show a card to check out materials while at the library. Your membership card serves as a helpful reminder of your expiration date and library ID number, and, depending on your membership level, will give you access to RISD’s Fleet Library and over 1,000 museums in North America through NARM.
How do I put a checked-out item on hold?
Give us a call at 401-421-6970. Our staff will contact you as soon as it is available.
The Athenæum doesn’t have an item I want. Can you find it for me?
If we don’t have an item you would like to check out, we will find a way to get it to you, provided it isn’t incredibly rare. We can find most items using interlibrary loan, but frequently purchase member requests to develop our collection and serve your needs. Looking for something in particular? Please contact the library at 401-421-6970 or email your request to email@example.com.
The Athenæum is a historic library. Do you have any new books?
Of course! The Athenæum adds thousands of new items each year. Check out our newly acquired books on the bookshelves near the Circulation Desk (opposite the card catalog) or via our online catalog here.
What should I read, watch, or listen to?
The age-old question. Check out our staff picks table in front of the Circulation Desk to see what we love and come talk to us! The staff loves to give personalized recommendations.