Whether you're nostalgic for the days when card catalogs ruled or you're looking to unplug for an hour or two, add the Providence Athenaeum Library on Benefit Street to your list of summer 2016 excursions. Originally established in 1753, and famous for being a spot where writers like Poe and Lovecraft hung out back in the day (I once dated a guy who liked to smoke clove cigarettes and named his cat Poe. Hey, in my defense, it was the 90's.), you've probably driven by tons of times on your way to and from somewhere else, like Geoff's, Den Den or maybe Wickenden. Well, it's time to stop and give in to your inner #bibliophile. (Speaking of which, contrary to what you may have found on Instagram under the hashtag bibliophile, it does not mean women with ginormous tata's.)
Stepping into the interior of the Athenaeum is a trip, both back in time and because it continues to be one of the oldest operating subscription libraries in the whole entire United States. Uh, that's book-tacular! So, go ahead and admire that bust of HP Lovecraft and the Gilbert Stuart painting of founding father George Washington, but know that in edition to their weekly 20 minute tours, on Wednesday at 10:30am and Saturday at 11am, they also host other open to the public activities (In other words, you don't have to be a member.), including events for kids, reading groups, and a thriving Salon Series, which starts up again in the fall. You could even have your wedding or another private function like a cocktail party there, which sounds so kewl to me.
Understandably, there are no cell phones allowed, so you'll want to stash yours. We did ask one of the clerks for permission to shoot some pics with ours for this post and got the green light, for which we were grateful. Now, I don't want to tell tales out of school or member sponsored library or anything, but I thought we were some of the only peeps taking photos there - until, that is, I searched Providence Athenaeum on Insta and found a ginormous amount of mobile uploads from local and visiting IG'ers alike...And that's why bragging comes back to bite you.
Patty J Tip: If you're going to sneak a pic or 2 for your IG, your best bet is to be super quiet to avoid disturbing those who are reading and studying. True Story: there were one or two individuals on the second level who didn't look too happy about us snapping the photo below of me holding that book boyyy. #librarydrama #wehadpermission
We did try to get there in time for their Wednesday morning tour yesterday, but we had a heck of a time finding parking. Ughhh. But don't let that stand in your way. Strongly recommend either taking an Uber or giving yourself a little extra time and parking in a space or lot either at the foot of College Hill or on the outskirts of Downtown. After finding a spot on So. Main and grabbing coffee at Dave's (Coffee Milk Latte please!), we figured what the heck and decided to walk over to the Library post public tour to scope things out. If the weather's nice enough, you might wanna think about doing the same.
Ciao for Now,
Photo Credits: All photos courtesy of us; for more, check out the PattyJDotCom Instagram.