Using the Library

Ask a question/Get reference help

Have a question? Ask a Providence Public Library reference librarian. You can visit the Library or you can call or email.

Borrow or reserve books & other materials

Providence Public Library is a member of the statewide Ocean State Libraries (OSL), formerly CLAN (Cooperating Libraries Automated Network), which links over 50 public libraries in Rhode Island. OSL cards may be used at all other OSL libraries to borrow materials, both in library and online.

Search Catalog now   |   Take a short survey about our online services

Contact the Library or administrative staff

Providence Public Library administrators and departments can be contacted by phone or through email.

Download audiobooks, digital media

Visit the Ocean State Libraries (OSL) E-zone to search this material directly or find them identified by format in the Library's statewide catalog of resources. For complete details, take a tour of the E-zone.

For optimal experience using this Web site

This Web site is best viewed and will most effectively be used in the following browsers: Firefox, Safari, Chrome and Internet Explorer/IE (versions 7, 8 and 9).

Get a library card

To receive a FREE library card, you may either visit the Library's Circulation Desk during open hours, fill out a form and present personal identification and verification of your current address or register for a temporary library card online. If you register for a temporary card, you may reserve material, but must present personal identification and address verification upon picking up your reserved material. Get complete details.

Get to My Account/Patron Record

Access your account or patron record to check your holds, place reserves or pay overdue fines and other fees.

Handicap Accessibility

The Library is accessible to the handicapped; individuals should call ahead to 401-455-8141 to make special accommodations for events in the Auditorium.

Homework Help Online

Library Hours & Directions

The Library is open seven days a week. (Open Sundays 1 - 5 pm, mid-October through mid-May.) Hours vary. Complete schedule & directions.

Library Items for Sale

The Library has varied logo imprinted items for sale. You can support the Library with the purchase of these items, available at our main Circulation desk. Details.

Mobile Printing at the Library


Nearby parking facilities
Hilton Providence Garage - 21Atwells Avenue, 401-831-3900 
Intown Parking - 131 Washington Street, 401-273-9466
Dunkin Donuts Center Parking - 165 Washington Street, 401-331-3786

Reserve & borrow books, DVDs, etc.

Providence Public Library is a member of the statewide Ocean State Libraries (OSL), which links over 50 public libraries in Rhode Island. OSL cards may be used at all other OSL libraries to borrow materials.To reserve material online, simply Search Catalog and input your library card number when prompted. You may choose which library location to have your material delivered to for easy pick-up.

Reserve a computer

You may reserve and use a computer in the Library's Computer Lab for up to two hours per day at no cost. You must come in to the Library to sign up for a computer at the Reserve Station located in the Lab. A library card is required. If you do not have a library card, guest passes are available. For more information, call the Computer Lab at 401-455-8000.

Reserve/Rent library facilities

Providence Public Library, an independent, non-profit corporation, provides free, library-sponsored lifelong learning programs and also offers limited facility rentals to community groups, nonprofit (501c3) organizations, private businesses, and government agencies in accordance with Library policies and State and Federal laws.

Register for/take a computer class

The Library runs varied free computer classes on all open days. To register or to get more information, call 401-455-8000. Classes are subject to change or cancellation.

Register for a program/class

To register for or reserve a spot in one of our lifelong learning programs or classes, check our Program & Events Calendar.

Recursos En Español

Search databases & find articles

Whether at home or in the Library, you can search our databases which offer a wide variety of information, including full text articles from specific magazines, journals and other resources.

Support the Library

There are many ways you may choose support Providence Public Library. You may make a donation securely online. For detailed information, feel free to contact our PPL Foundation manager at 401-455-8003 or

Tour the Library

Take a free Historic Library Tour at 10:30 AM on the first and third Tuesday of each month. Please come to the Library's 225 Washington Street entrance. To schedule a special group tour outside of these times, please contact Tonia Mason at 401-455-8090 or You may also access the Library's annotated online tour at (Library Tour).

You may arrange a class or group tour of the Library by calling our Reference Department at 401-455-8005.

Visit our Special Collections

You may arrange a time to visit our Special Collections with our Special Collections Librarian at 401-455-8021 or email

Special Collections Tours
Learn more about PPL's Special Collections - Introductory tours are offered by appointment. Please come up to the 3rd floor or contact 401-455-8021.

Volunteer at the Library

Please contact our Human Resources office at 401-455-8061 to learn about current volunteer opportunities and the process for applying.

Wedding/Special Occasion Photos at the Library

Wedding photos are possible in the Library's Grand Marble Stairway/Balcony areas. For complete information, contact

WIFI access

There is WIFI access available in the Library. Please ask at the Circulation Desk for specific information or call 401-455-8000.