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Membership Libraries

As a member of the Mechanics’ Institute, you have membership privileges at the Athenaeum Music & Arts Library (La Jolla), Charleston Library SocietyFolio: The Seattle Athenaeum, Institute Library (New Haven), Maine Charitable Mechanics AssociationThe Mercantile Library of Cincinnati, New York Society Library, Portsmouth Athenaeum, Redwood Library and Athenaeum, and Salem Athenaeum. This includes use of their reading rooms, permission to browse the stacks, and the limited ability to check out books.

Membership Libraries

Membership libraries trace their history in America to the 18th century, when Benjamin Franklin founded the Library Company of Philadelphia. These libraries played a significant role in their communities. While most subscription libraries were replaced or taken over with the advent of free public libraries in the 19th century, several have survived and thrived.

More information about our sister institutions is available in the 2007 book America's Membership Libraries.

The Membership Libraries

1731

The Library Company of Philadelphia 
1314 Locust Street, Philadelphia, PA 19107 
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1747

Redwood Library and Athenaeum 
50 Bellevue Avenue, Newport, RI 02840
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1748

The Charleston Library Society
164 King Street, Charleston, SC 29401
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1753

The Providence Athenaeum
251 Benefit Street, Providence, RI 02903
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1754

The New York Society Library 
53 East 79th Street, New York, NY 10075 
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1807

The Boston Athenaeum
10½ Beacon Street, Boston, MA 02108
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1810

The Salem Athenaeum
337 Essex Street, Salem, MA 01970
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1814

The Athenaeum of Philadelphia
219 South Sixth Street, Philadelphia, PA 19106
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1817

The Portsmouth Athenaeum
9 Market Square, Portsmouth, NH 03801

1820

The General Society Library of New York City
20 West 44th Street, New York, NY 10036

1820

The Maine Charitable Mechanic Association
519 Congress Street, Portland, ME 04101
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1820

The Center for Fiction (Founded as the Mercantile Library)
17 East 47th Street, New York, NY 10017
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1826

The Institute Library of New Haven
847 Chapel Street, New Haven, CT 06510
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1835

The Mercantile Library of Cincinnati
414 Walnut Street, Cincinnati, OH 45202
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1846

The St. Louis Mercantile Library Association
8001 Natural Bridge Road, St. Louis, Missouri 63121
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1855

The Mechanics' Institute Library of San Francisco
57 Post Street, San Francisco, CA 94104
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1890

Lanier Library of North Carolina
72 Chestnut Street, Tryon, NC 28782

1899

The Athenaeum Music and Arts Library in La Jolla
1008 Wall Street, La Jolla, CA 92037

2016

Folio: The Seattle Athenaeum
314 Marion Street, Seattle, WA 98104
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