The Athenæum is now welcoming members for in-person browsing.
Hours: Tuesday – Saturday, 10am-5pm
Browsing areas: garden-level Reading Room; Main Hall
Entrance/exit: lower programming door at the corner of College & Benefit Streets
Click here for more information on the library’s contactless curbside service.
Browsing Basics (see below for a more detailed Q&A)
To keep our members and staff safe, all visitors to the library must observe the following guidelines.
- Only members will be allowed in the building. No exceptions.
- If you feel unwell, are experiencing any cold-like symptoms, or have been exposed to COVID-19 within the last 14 days, you must stay home.
- Masks must be worn over nose and mouth at all times.
- Please limit your visit to 20 minutes or less.
- The number of people in the building is limited in accordance with state guidelines.
- Visitors must maintain a physical distance of at least 6’ from each other.
- The restroom and seating areas are not available. There is no computer or study access.
- Browsing areas are limited, but staff are able to retrieve materials from all parts of the library – just ask!
- All materials are still available through curbside pickup!
Thank you so much for your support and patience! Please note all this information is subject to change as we work to keep our community safe.
How does this work?
Members can enter the library through the lower Reading Room door (on the corner of Benefit and College Streets). A staff member will welcome you and answer any questions you have. Please note that a limited number of people will be allowed in the building; there’s a small chance you may be asked to wait until another member has finished their browsing. Once you are admitted to the library, you can browse items in the Reading Room and the Main Hall.
What materials will be available for browsing?
New non-fiction titles, a selection of children’s materials, and a collection of DVDs are on display in the Reading Room. Upstairs, you’ll find new fiction and mystery on the new book shelf, and you’ll have access to browse the fiction and mystery alcoves. If you would like any materials from other parts of the library, just ask a staff member, and they will be retrieved for you.
Can I return items?
Yes! You can either drop them off in the bookdrop by the back door on College Street when we’re closed, or give them to a staff member if you’re visiting the library to browse.
Who can come with me?
In order to serve as many members as possible, please try to limit your library-visiting party to one or two family members. Children will be allowed in the building, but please note that only a selection of children’s materials will be available for browsing, and the restroom will not be available. If you’re looking for any materials that aren’t on display, just ask! Staff would be happy to retrieve materials from the Children’s Library.
What safety measures are in place?
We are taking the safety of everyone in the building very seriously. We will be routinely cleaning hard surfaces, and returned items will be quarantined for 72 hours and cleaned before being available for browsing. We are limiting members’ time in the building to help mitigate risk – therefore seating areas have been temporarily removed from the Reading Room and the restroom will not be available.
I still have questions!
We’re happy to help! Please email email@example.com for assistance.