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“A Library for all seasons” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Providence Athenaeum

Providence Athenaeum
251 Benefit Street, Providence, RI 02903 (College Hill)
401-421-6970
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Ranked #14 of 63 Attractions in Providence
Type: Architectural Buildings, Historic Sites, Libraries, Cultural
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Attraction details
Owner description: One of America's oldest lending libraries established in 1753.
Saunderstown, Rhode Island
Senior Contributor
31 reviews 31 reviews
14 attraction reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
20 helpful votes 20 helpful votes
“A Library for all seasons”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 16, 2012

Across the street from the RISD Museum is this beautiful old (one of the first in the nation) library. Plaster busts crown old wooden stacks filled with the most eclectic, well curated library collection filled with treasures. The children's library is excellent. You may browse to your hearts content but you must be a member to borrow materials.
Selfishly I hate to share this, but one of my favorite things to do in the winter is to go downstairs, choose a magazine or maybe a 150 year old book from their collection, sit in a wing chair or curl up on the couch, watch the snow drift down, read, dream, and think that some woman like me sat here 200 years ago, dress sweeping the floor, gloves in hand, looking out the window at the snow...
I should add that the library hosts many interesting events, some in tandem with RISD openings, has an electronic newsletter that gives a most comprehensive offerings of events and happenings in Providence. It's living history but also hip and contemporary at the same time. Just an amazing place.

Visited August 2012
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49 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
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Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Italian first
  • Any
English first
Boston, MA
Top Contributor
158 reviews 158 reviews
82 attraction reviews
Reviews in 50 cities Reviews in 50 cities
96 helpful votes 96 helpful votes
“Interesting Building”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 13, 2012

If you are walking around the East Side, definitely stop in this building. It is beautiful building, with tons of history and the architecture is so impressive, along with everything that fills it- the books!

Visited January 2012
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Chicago, Illinois
Top Contributor
101 reviews 101 reviews
16 attraction reviews
Reviews in 31 cities Reviews in 31 cities
70 helpful votes 70 helpful votes
“A step back in time”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 28, 2012

This is your grandmother's library, complete with card catalog (with some hand-written entries). Comfortable reading room and very interesting programs if you happen to catch one; there's a self-guided tour of the building that could be done in 10 minutes. A nice place to take a break after the RISD museum (across the street.)

Visited November 2012
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Plymouth
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
3 attraction reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
“Old!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 20, 2012

I loved browsing the shelves of this ancient library. Knowing Edgar Allen Poe read here too was very exciting.

Visited December 2011
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Providence, Rhode Island
Contributor
12 reviews 12 reviews
4 attraction reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
“Another Historic Gem”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 11, 2012

Go there and browse their collections. The staff is very inviting and the atmosphere is simply serene. More to read than one can do in a lifetime, with a range of materials from the historic to the current.

Visited May 2012
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