About the Library
Mailing address: Fleet Library at RISD
2 College Street, Providence, RI 02903-2784
Library collections include more than 155,000 volumes and 320 periodical subscriptions (print) and offer unusual depth and richness in the areas of architecture, art, design and photography. The library is noted for its artist’s book collection, its rare books and outstanding visual and material resource collections.
Founded in 1878, the RISD Library is one of the oldest independent art college libraries in the country. Begun in a bookcase in the Hoppin Homestead building, the books were moved to the Waterman Building when it opened in 1893, settling in a number of rooms before relocating to what is now the Nature Lab, a proper library with a librarian, Eliza Buffington in 1909. Outgrowing that location, the RISD Library moved to an elegant space in the newly built College Building in 1937.
In the summer of 2006 the Library moved into a new facility in the first two floors of the former Rhode Island Hospital Trust bank at 15 Westminster Street directly across the river from the RISD Auditorium.
The magnificent banking hall serves as the library’s main reading room, while the second floor accommodates a new reading room for Archives and Special Collections as well as expanded space for the Materials and Picture Collections.
From the Dean of Libraries
Welcome to the Fleet Library at RISD. We are now in our tenth year in this library space; over the past decade, not only have we enjoyed providing collections, services and instruction, we have also hosted a wonderful array of exhibits, programs and events. At the same time we substantially increased the virtual RISD Library, with an ever larger range of digital resources from ebooks and articles to images. We strive to provide collections and resources that represent diverse creative practice, past and present.
Dean of Libraries
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