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!
What are membership benefits?
Membership comes with an array of benefits including checking items out from the collection, registering for programs, joining reading groups, exploring other institutions, and more! Learn more here. All are welcome to join, and membership starts at just $45.
Is there a restroom available?
A gender-neutral restroom is located in the lower-level Reading Room (a portrait of George Washington points the way).
Is there an elevator?
No, our historic building does not have an elevator at this time. Please use caution on the nineteenth-century staircases leading to the Reading Room and mezzanine. If you would prefer to use the exterior sidewalk rather than the central staircase to access the Reading Room, please let a staff member know.
Are children allowed?
Children are always welcome in the Athenæum. The Children’s Library is located around the corner from the Circulation Desk. Please note children must be 10 or older to visit the mezzanine level.
Are dogs allowed?
Well-behaved canine visitors on leashes are welcome to accompany members and visitors. Treats are available at the Circulation Desk! Please note that dogs are not allowed on the mezzanine.
Is there a library shop?
A small library shop is located in the Visitor Center. Stop in to check out t-shirts, tote bags, notebooks, bookplates, custom library-scented candles, and more.
What areas of the building are open to the public?
The Main Level and lower-level Reading Room are fully open to all visitors. Please note that the mezzanine-level Art Room and mezzanine alcove desks are reserved for members. The Philbrick Rare Book Room is only open for special exhibitions and for scheduled research appointments.
What are your photography policies?
Respectful casual, amateur photography of your visit to the library is always welcome! If taking photos, please do not use flash. Make sure to tag us: @pvdath – we love to see your creative selfies and photos. Please be aware that this is a historic, working library, and visitors are expected to treat the building, staff, and other patrons with courtesy. The Athenæum reserves the right to ask any visitor who is being disruptive to leave the building.
Any photography or filming other than amateur shoots of the space (e.g. fashion, engagement, wedding, headshots, brand, lifestyle) requires prior permission and often a rental fee. Please see our full photography and filming policy for more information.
Is food and/or drink allowed inside?
No food is allowed inside the library. Covered drinks can be brought inside.
Is there public wi-fi?
The Athenæum offers free Wi-Fi to all our visitors. Please select the network Athenaeum-Guest to connect.
Are cell phone conversations allowed?
No. We ask that members and visitors step outside to take calls.