This Historic PVD Library Is Getting A Serious Makeover & We're Here For It

Photo of the exterior of PPL’s 1900 building courtesy of Stacey Doyle

Photo of the exterior of PPL’s 1900 building courtesy of Stacey Doyle

I’ve been fascinated with the 1900 building at the Providence Public Library*, the Renaissance style structure that faces Washington Street, since I was kid. Still remember studying the facade while standing and waiting out front for the Union Chestnut Hill (RIPTA) bus home. These days, following a 2013 restoration, the 1900 building has a brand new life as a wildly popular (booking up years in advance) wedding and event venue. You’ve probably been to at least one spectacular wedding there over the last few years, right?

 Recently, I had the chance to do some photos (including the one on page 41 of the new Providence Monthly…in case you haven’t checked out their November 2018 issue just yet) with Stacey Doyle in and around that building and it was a completely dream come true type experience. (Scroll to the end for our photo diary.) A sincere thank you to the wonderful people at PPL who green lighted our photo-related request, and also invited us to the kick-off for their next big renovation.

Back in July, we were there for the groundbreaking for the updating of the 1950 (Empire Street) building**, all part of the aptly titled THINK AGAIN Building Transformation, a ten year strategic plan to bring the Library as a whole into the 21st century and help it continue to be a hub for education, training, and collaboration. If you’re interested in finding out more about this exciting undertaking that benefits so many RI’ers (whether they’re looking for a quiet place to study, looking into taking a class to further expand their job skills, or attend a special event), check out

*I was surprised to learn that although PPL offers free library access and services to more than 150,000 people in RI every year, because they are a private 501 c (3) organization, they receive no city funding and rely mostly on grants and private donations (in addition to a private endowment).

**This is the first, and only, major refurbishment work ever to be done on the PPL 1950 building, the one you probably remember from the days of scanning the card catalogues while trying to finish a book report bibliography or all those group project gatherings.

Photo Diary (By Stacey Doyle Photography)