Welcome to the Athenaeum of Philadelphia. The Athenaeum was established in 1814 as a subscription library, at a time when the free public library system did not exist and collections of books, available for reading or research, were still mostly limited to institutions, schools or colleges.
The Athenaeum of Philadelphia nurtures curiosity in members and neighbors, strengthening community through learning and discourse.
The Athenaeum of Philadelphia is one of 16 membership libraries that collaborate through the Membership Libraries Group. Some, like the Charleston (est. 1748), New York Society (est. 1754), and Newport (est. 1741) libraries, date from the 18th Century.
THE ATHENAEUM OF PHILADELPHIA IS COMMITTED TO:
Learning – We foster the pursuit of knowledge and lively conversation, which are indispensable to a rewarding life and a vibrant, well-functioning community.
Diversity – We seek a diverse membership and diverse points of view in keeping with our ever-changing community and world.
Culture – We promote engagement with great literature, history, art and architecture and the pressing issues of contemporary life.
Creativity and Innovation – We believe new experiences and new perspectives deepen knowledge and understanding while strengthening community bonds.
Community and Place – Our place in the vibrant, diverse and historically important city of Philadelphia matters for our work and our members. We celebrate our location and the ideas and values that shape our urban landscape and its place in the larger world.
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.
The Athenaeum is a not-for-proﬁt 501(c)(3) museum and library. We rely on support from members, foundations, corporations, government agencies, and individuals just like you. To learn more about how you can join or support The Athenaeum, click here.
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