Books

Since 1814 — 80 years before the Free Library’s founding — The Athenaeum has provided Philadelphians with the best in new and classic literature, books on art and architecture, magazines and journals. And whatever our collection might lack, we can quickly borrow for you under our resource-sharing agreement with the 4.5-million-volume University of Pennsylvania library system. We also offer eBooks, DVDs, and audiobooks.

For members, The Athenaeum is much more than a lending library. It’s a place to hear and meet renowned authors in an intimate setting; join a book club, participate in lively discussions about what you’ve read and what you’re thinking. It’s a place to get personalized reading recommendations from knowledgeable staff and avoid the long wait lines at other libraries. And it’s a place to read, work or relax in a uniquely beautiful, historic setting. WHAT YOU NEED TO GET STARTED

THE ATHENAEUM BOOKSHELF

Each month, the Athenaeum librarian highlights a selection of noteworthy new books from our holdings.

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VIEW NEW BOOKS VIEW NEW BOOKS

E-BOOKS

The Athenaeum’s e-book collection will work on devices that take apps, such as smartphones or tablets. Have your Athenaeum library card and pin code available. To find out if an e-book can be added to our collection, contact the librarian. New users click here.

GET AN E-BOOK

FRANKLIN LIBRARY CATALOG

In 2018, the Athenaeum of Philadelphia entered into a resource sharing agreement with the University of Pennsylvania. The Athenaeum’s library catalog is now hosted there as part of their catalog, Franklin. Use it for finding books, audiobooks, DVDs and trade materials.

BROWSE CATALOG

WHAT YOU NEED TO GET STARTED

All Athenaeum members are entitled to an Athenaeum library card. If you do not already have a card, please contact the librarian to receive one.

Shareholder level members are permitted to borrow items from the University of Pennsylvania’s extensive circulating collections in addition to the resources of the Athenaeum, through our transformative resource sharing agreement.

Subscribers and Young Friends are restricted to the Athenaeum’s own holdings.
A Word About Offsite Storage
A search in the Franklin catalog restricted to the Athenaeum of Philadelphia only brings up items held onsite at the Athenaeum. While many items are here at the Athenaeum, others are in Penn’s offsite storage facility, LIBRA. You can view the Athenaeum’s material that is stored at LIBRA: circulating here and non-circulating (for use only at the Athenaeum) here. We regret that we do not have same-day retrieval of items held in off-site storage. We encourage our patrons to request such items in advance of visiting the library.

Mailing Services
Athenaeum Shareholders are always entitled to have books and other library items mailed directly to them. While the Philadelphia region continues under COVID-19 restrictions, that privilege has been extended to Subscribers and Young Friends.

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