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Membership




You are invited to join one of the oldest and most esteemed membership libraries in the United States, The Athenaeum of Philadelphia! Hear what our members have to say:

“Our uniquely rich collections weave tapestries of Philadelphia’s history – from its ideological and idealist founding, to its brick and mortar planning and execution, through its cultural, creative, and industrial development. The Athenaeum holds a place in our city that’s not unlike the place our city holds in the world.  We are a central library that records and explores the history of humanity’s better angels, its occasional falls from grace, the genius of the invention of the city itself and a celebration of the ideas behind the greatness of America, the uniqueness of Philadelphia and the future of an ever-changing urban cultural landscape.”            

- Ed Tettemer, Athenaeum of Philadelphia Member since 2012

Become a part of Philadelphia’s rich 19th century history by joining the Athenaeum today.

The Athenaeum of Philadelphia has three (3) General Membership Levels · 

  • Shareholder: Receive full privileges at the Athenaeum, cost of a Shareholder Membership: $500 (one–time share purchase) + $210 Annual Dues (to be collected in February) (If available) All new Shareholders will be issued an Athenaeum of Philadelphia share certificate as well as a brief biography about one of the share’s previous owners – often dating back to the Athenaeum’s founding in 1816.

  • Subscriber (Individual):  Subscribers to the Athenaeum pay an annual membership fee of $250.

  • Young Friends (Individual):  Young Friends of the Athenaeum pay an annual membership fee of $75. Memberships are reserved for those individuals who are age 18-35.  

All members receive:

  • An official Athenaeum of Philadelphia library card, decal and bookmark

  • Free or discounted ticketing to events

  • Invitation to new members’ orientation and reception

  • Regular receipt of email bulletins and mailed program brochures

  • Members-only access to exhibition openings, receptions, tours, lectures, and special events

  • Opportunity to volunteer as an Athenaeum Ambassador or as a committee, task force, or advisory group participant

  • Generous lending times, short waiting periods, and NO fees for popular books

  • Use of beautiful reading rooms, members lounge with coffee, tea, and daily newspapers, and Wi-Fi access throughout our National Historic Landmark building

  • Borrowing privileges from our continuously expanding circulating and reference library collection of over 355,000 titles, including recent releases and popular fiction, hard-to-find material, magazines, journals, DVDs and eBooks

PURCHASE or RENEW / PAY DUES 

Benefits for Shareholders at The Athenaeum of Philadelphia:

  • All of the above +

  • Invitation to and voting privileges at annual Shareholder’s meeting & cocktail party

  • Receipt of a personalized Shareholder certificate that can be passed on to family members 

  • Access to the University of Pennsylvania library holdings – ability to check out from their 7 million volume circulating library (a $400 annual value)

  • At-home mail delivery of books

  • Reservation privileges for The Athenaeum’s DuBarry Conference Room

  • Free subscription to the Philadelphia Architects & Buildings (PAB) Database.
    Subscription Includes:

  • Access to PAB’s 130,000+ high-resolution digital images from the Athenaeum’s rich holdings, and the collections of many other local repositories

  • The ability to download images into an unlimited number of personally-curated PowerPoint slide shows

  • Discounts of up to 25% on orders placed with the Athenaeum’s Regional Digital Imaging Center

  • 20% discount off books at the University of Pennsylvania Press 

  • Reciprocal privileges at a consortium of membership libraries nationwide and introduction by Executive Director prior to visit

PURCHASE or RENEW / PAY DUES  

Contact our Membership Coordinator Gabrielle Rodriguez for further information at 215-925-2688 or membership@PhilaAthenaeum.org