Members of the Athenæum enjoy many benefits, including borrowing privileges, special library access, and exclusive communications. Join a unique community of cultural leaders!
If you’d prefer to pay by credit card over the phone or request that a membership card be mailed to you, please call 401-421-6970.
- Priority registration for and/or discounted access to the Salons, reading groups, cultural enrichment series, and more!
- Borrowing privileges, including books, periodicals, DVDs, audiobooks, CDs, and e-reader devices
- Borrowing privileges of books and DVDs at RISD’s Fleet Library (a $100 value/person)*
- A complimentary Six-month Introductory membership to give to a friend/family once per year (a $65 value)*
- Access to the Athenæum’s cloudLibrary to download ebooks and e-audiobooks to your own devices
- Book requests filled through purchase or interlibrary loans
- Generous loan periods and short waiting periods for popular or new titles
- Personalized reading recommendations from staff
- Reference and research assistance
- Subscription to our semiannual publication, Universal Penman
- Use of Art Room for personal study
- Prioritized access to Special Collections
- 10% discount on building rentals
- Dogs on leashes are welcome to accompany you inside the library (and treats provided!)
*Household, Individual, Under 35 membership levels
Household: $200 per year / $16.66 per month
Individual: $165 per year / $13.75 per month
Individual Under 35: $95 per year / $7.92 per month (with proof of age)
Six-month Introductory (first-time members only; for individuals or families): $65
Full-time College Student: $35 per year (with valid student ID)
For Household, Individual, and Individual Under 35 memberships, you may pay the full amount at the time of joining/renewal, or opt to have your credit card automatically charged monthly if you prefer.
I didn’t get a library card when I signed up. How do I get one?
We don’t use library cards here at the Athenæum because we want to get to know every member by name. When you are ready to check something out, give your name to the staff at the circulation desk and we will do the rest.
How do I put a checked-out item on hold?
Give us a call at 401-421-6970 or email Circulation Supervisor Mary Brower at firstname.lastname@example.org. Our staff contact you as soon as it is available.
Card Catalogs? Really?
Really! While most of our collection is available online some of the older items haven’t made the technological jump yet. Don’t worry, our awesome staff can always help you find exactly what you are looking for.
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? Ask us or submit an online item request form.
My membership comes with RISD Fleet Library privileges. How do I start using them?
While the Athenæum doesn’t use library cards the Fleet Library does. Contact the library at 401-421-6970 or visit the Circulation Desk to get your card. Please note that Fleet privileges are open to Household, Individual, and Individual Under 35 members.
It looks like a lot of old books. Do you have any new titles?
Of course! The Athenæum adds thousands of new items each year. Check out our newly acquired titles near the Circulation Desk.
What should I read, watch, or listen to?
The age-old question. Check out our staff picks near the Circulation Desk to see what we love and come talk to us! The staff loves to give personalized recommendations.