Reading Room at the Athenaeum of Philadelphia

The Athenaeum of Philadelphia

The Athenaeum of Philadelphia, an historic, member-supported library, was founded in 1814, decades before the advent of free public libraries. Its purpose, then as now, is to provide access to “general knowledge” through books, archival material and special collections for research and exhibits, public forums and lectures, as well as a congenial space for conversation and learning. After outgrowing several homes, including inside the American Philosophical Society, the Athenaeum moved into its own building on Washington Square in 1847. Today, the Athenaeum continues to foster research, learning and conversation, focusing its strengths and resources on the needs and interests of a community that is increasingly diverse and ever more vibrant.