Using the Rhode Island Collection


The Collection is open to the public during normal library hours and encourages researchers who are interested in genealogy, architectural or business history, and a wide range of topics in state and local history. Researchers are encouraged to access the collection with the assistance of the Rhode Island Collection Librarian and are expected to use the materials in the Providence Journal Rhode Island Room on the 1st floor of the Library. This recently renovated room provides a quiet study area with wireless connection. The Rhode Island Collection Librarian's office is adjacent to the Providence Journal Rhode Island Room.  

In-depth research may require an advance appointment with the Rhode Island Collection Librarian. Because Rhode Island Collection materials do not circulate, visitors are asked to provide a government-issued picture ID or PPL library card upon use.

Contact Information

Kate Wells, Rhode Island Collection Librarian
Phone: 401.455.8028
Fax: 401.455.8013

     Rhode Island Collection
     Providence Public Library
     150 Empire Street
     Providence, RI 02903


Monday 12:30-5:00
Tuesday 12:30-5:00
Wednesday 12:30-8:00
Thursday 12:30-5:00
Friday 12:30-5:00

Remote Research Services

Reference staff is happy to assist with basic reference questions about the Rhode Island Collection for free.  Questions are answered in the order in which they are received – please allow for 1-2 weeks turnaround.  Please understand that we have limited staff so we may need to refer you to professional researchers for hire for requests requiring intensive research.

Requests for scans or copies of articles or obituaries from the microfilm of local newspapers may be answered as follows:

  • Free:  Up to 3 individuals or articles searched per request.  Obituary or marriage announcements must have date information. 
  • $15:  Up to 10 individuals or articles searched per request. Payment must be received by check or credit card before research will begin.  Results of searching cannot be guaranteed.