About the Library


401 709-5900 |library@risd.edu
15 Westminster Street, Providence, RI 02903

Mailing address: Fleet Library at RISD
2 College Street, Providence, RI 02903-2784

From the Dean of Libraries

Welcome to the Fleet Library at Rhode Island School of Design. As one of the marquee destinations on the RISD campus, we are proud to provide collections of distinction, highly sought-after services and instruction, and a wonderful array of exhibitions, programs and events. At the same time we are increasing our online presence with an ever-larger range of digital resources from ebooks and articles to digital images —and even a library-sponsored student podcast, now in its third year. We strive to provide collections and resources that represent diverse creative practice, past and present.

I invite you to search the catalog, browse this site, and explore the Fleet Library community on Digital Commons.

Margot Nishimura

Dean of Libraries
mnishimu@risd.edu | 401 709-5909



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 (read more about the library's early years on Digital Commons).

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.

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 visual and material resource collections. 

See Also (library newsletter)

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