Welcome to the Providence Athenæum! Below are some answers to common questions asked when newcomers visit our nineteenth-century building. We hope to see you soon among the stacks!
Where do I enter?
The Athenæum’s front entrance on Benefit Street is reached at the top of a run of granite steps and opens onto the main level. A second entrance, with no steps, is accessed up the sidewalk hill, off College Street, and opens next to the Circulation Desk on the main level. If you are joining us for the Salon or an after-hours program, please use the programming door located at the Benefit Street level on the corner of Benefit and College Streets.
Where can I wander?
The main library, Children’s Library, and downstairs Reading Room are open to the public. (Please note that children under ten are not permitted on the mezzanine level.) The Philbrick Rare Book Room can be accessed by appointment or by booking a private tour (please contact Kate Wodehouse, Director of Collections & Library Services for more information- 401-421-6970 x26).
What will I see?
Books, first and foremost! The Athenæum is full of books in every corner, crevice, and cubbyhole. There are also busts, paintings, prints, sculptures, an Egyptian cabinet, and much more to be seen as you make your way through the library. We offer an eight-point self-guided tour that will acquaint you with our building and collections. The Raven Tour takes approximately 15-20 minutes. More information is available at the Circulation Desk.
Can I take pictures?
Of course! Handheld photography is encouraged. We simply ask that flash not be used.
Can I bring my dog?
Please do! Well-behaved, leashed canines (and felines) are welcome to accompany you to the library. The Circulation staff always has dog biscuits available to hand out to our furry friends.