Library Tour - Chapter 3

Library Tour - Chapter 3

CHAPTER 3 -- Grand Hall/Garden Courtyard (Atrium)

Initially the location of the Library circulation desk and "Delivery/Receiving Room," today's stately marble-paved Grand Hall is the Library's magnificent centerpiece space just off the formal grand Washington Street entrance. 

  • The present-day Atrium with "sweetheart" staircase to the lower level Garden Courtyard was created during the Library's 1988 renovation. From that time through 2004, the Grand Hall was home once again to the main circulation desk. Prior, the circulation desk was located in the newer "Empire Street" building added in 1954 and that is where it is located today.
  • The Hall’s original clerestory windows and skylights create a dramatic light-filled space. With the addition of the '50s building, the clerestory windows on the north side were removed.  With the "Opening Doors" restoration, the inside windows above the atrium were restored and treated to recreate the original hall's window-lined architecture.


  • The Grand Hall is now home to the Library's Steinway Grand Piano Model B, a gift in 1953 in memory of Library Trustee Frederick C. Freeman donated by Mrs. Freeman. The piano had resided in the 3rd floor Auditorium.

The Grand Hall/Atrium Chandelier  

During the 1988 renovation, the Library installed a chandelier in the new Atrium. Subsequently, the chandelier that was bought in 1987 from Ardvark Antiques in Newport was found to be one that had hung in Brown University’s Alumnae Hall built in 1926 as the social hall for Pembroke College. In November 1989, the chandelier was returned to Brown, and the University donated the similar chandelier cast by Brass Works, which remains today. 


CHAPTER 4 -- Ship Room

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