Reference Collections

The Library has a number of Special and Reference Collections, available to historians, researchers and students.

Art Collections
Our Art Collections are a tremendous resource in these subjects: Architecture, Design and Decoration, Biography, Antiques, Collectibles, Costume, Photography, Needle Crafts

Children's Collection
With more than 60,000 items, the General Collection is one of the largest in the state and dates back to the earliest days of the Providence Public Library.

Foundation Collection
The Foundation Collection at Providence Public Library is the Rhode Island depository of the Foundation Center in New York. The collection consists of books, both reference and circulating, annual reports.

Genealogy Collection
The Library's Genealogy Collection features Providence city directories, house directories, family biographies, Arnold's Vital Records and regimental histories of the Civil War.

Music Collection
The Library has strong circulating and reference collections in music biography, as well as popular and classical music history. The score collection consists of 15,000 scores and songbooks, the largest public library collection in Rhode Island.

Rhode Island Collection
The materials in the Rhode Island Collection are by, for and about Rhode Island and its people. The collection consists of nearly 10,000 books; an image collection containing over 7,000 photographs of people, places and buildings available in print and online; historic and current maps pertaining to Rhode Island cities and towns; clippings; pamphlets; selected documents from the State of Rhode Island and the City of Providence.