We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

John Hay Library

Address: 20 Prospect Street, Brown University, Providence, RI 02912 (College Hill)
Phone Number: 401-863-3723
Improve this listing
Ranked #38 of 63 Attractions in Providence
Type: Libraries, Cultural
Attraction details
Type: Libraries, Cultural
Mon - Thu 10:00 am - 6:00 pm
Fri 10:00 am - 5:00 pm

Hotels near John Hay Library

Write a Review

10 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Pleasant Hill, California
Senior Contributor
46 reviews 46 reviews
33 attraction reviews
25 helpful votes 25 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed September 5, 2013

After reading the new Biography by John Taliaferro (an excellent biography) I wanted to see the Sargeant painting located in the library. Be aware the library is being renovated for 9 months.

Was this review helpful? Yes 2
Top Contributor
131 reviews 131 reviews
67 attraction reviews
124 helpful votes 124 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 19, 2012

John Hay Library has incredible collections and the helpful and welcoming librarians make it a pleasure to visit. There is a small display case in the lobby with a rotating exhibit for casual visitors (i.e., not there on a research visit) to enjoy.

Was this review helpful? Yes 1
Lakeland, Florida
Top Contributor
133 reviews 133 reviews
47 attraction reviews
59 helpful votes 59 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 27, 2012

We got to see so much greatness here....Collections of toy soldiers, Lincoln and Napoleon Memorabilia, Stamps, and a Slavery exhibit. You should definitely go and arrange for a tour. So overwhelmed with what we saw. We really want to go again. Walk around the campus too. Lovely!

Was this review helpful? Yes 1
Providence, Rhode Island
Top Contributor
123 reviews 123 reviews
53 attraction reviews
65 helpful votes 65 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed September 24, 2012

The John Hay, Library which is named after a friend of Henry James who was the first modern US Secretary of State, is a stately, somewhat boring marble faced edifice that houses the university's main special collections, collections, however, which are far from being in the league of those at Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Texas, and so on. Not much of... More 

Was this review helpful? Yes
Dartmouth, Massachusetts
Senior Contributor
30 reviews 30 reviews
8 attraction reviews
17 helpful votes 17 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 15, 2012

Nice place to visit if you're doing research on American history.

Was this review helpful? Yes
Top Contributor
192 reviews 192 reviews
62 attraction reviews
103 helpful votes 103 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 29, 2012

We dropped into the Hay Library while visiting Brown University. The staff at the desk was so friendly and helpful! We went up to the top floor to see the toy soldier collection. I've never been interested in toy soldiers before, but this collection was large and extraordinary. I was quite caught up in the lovely little display of WWII... More 

Was this review helpful? Yes 1
Providence, Rhode Island
Top Contributor
64 reviews 64 reviews
26 attraction reviews
34 helpful votes 34 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 3, 2012

I love the marble building of this library as well as the comfortable interior. It is not crowded so it is a great place to study when they are open. I find their schedule to be quite limited.

Was this review helpful? Yes
Corvallis, Oregon
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
5 attraction reviews
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 9, 2012

I stopped in to study, the lady at the desk was very welcoming and even let me borrow a quarter so I could put my things in a locker. The windows are large and let a ton of sunlight into the reading room.

Was this review helpful? Yes
Rhode Island
Top Contributor
58 reviews 58 reviews
32 attraction reviews
49 helpful votes 49 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 9, 2011

If you love history and books and old manuscripts, you'll love this library! This is a research library so stacks are closed but but there's plenty to see. This library is Brown University's Special Collections library. Contrary to what the previous reviewer said, it's easy to get in. There are two exhibit rooms inside the front entrance and more exhibits... More 

Was this review helpful? Yes 1
1 review
4 of 5 stars Reviewed May 17, 2009

They don't let just anyone in here, so don't expect to just hop in and start checking out on-of-a-kind texts. I went on the Providence Ghost Tour, and after having tried to get in without success, learned a lot about this building on their tour. Beautiful location, beautiful building, amazing contents. On a lovely street corner and in walking distance... More 

Was this review helpful? Yes

Travelers who viewed John Hay Library also viewed


Been to John Hay Library? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Owners: What's your side of the story?

Register now for free — and start getting automatic notification of new reviews, responding to traveler feedback, adding new photos to your listing and much more.

Manage your listing

Questions & Answers

Questions? Get answers from John Hay Library staff and past visitors.
Posting guidelines
Typical questions asked:
  • Do I have to buy a ticket for my infant?
  • How do I get there using public transportation?
  • Is there a restaurant or café onsite?