A view of The Updike Collection with a letterpress at Providence Public Library

Visiting Special Collections

We welcome everyone to use our collections.

Access to Special Collections is currently available by appointment, and we look forward to returning to open hours when the library fully reopens in early 2020. 

Online access to selected materials

Reproduction Policies

The Library provides access to our collections online through our Digital Library, ProvLibDigital. If you would like a reproduction of an item not available from any of those sources, you can contact us for information about requesting a digital copy.


Provlibdigital.org images: FREE
Newly-digitized images: $10

These fees represent the cost of acquiring a scan of an item; patrons are responsible for determining copyright status and negotiating with copyright holders when necessary. We encourage researchers to use their own cameras (after disabling flashes) to take photographs of collection items during their visits. There is no fee for researcher photographs. Photography of large portions of a collection may require the approval of the Special Collections Librarian or Rhode Island Collection Librarian. Flatbed scanners are not allowed.

Terms of Use

All use of Rhode Island Collection images must credit the PPL in the following format: Photo Name, Photo Number, Rhode Island Collection, Providence Public Library, Providence, RI.

For all other collections, citations should provide the following: Call number or other identification, collection name (e.g. “Nicholson Collection”), “Providence Public Library Special Collections, Providence, RI”.

Unless otherwise requested, image files will be provided to the patron via Dropbox or over email for free. Patrons may provide an external hard drive or flash drive at their own expense or purchase a CD-ROM. Requests beyond 10 images require approval by the collection's curator and may include additional fee and processing time. Payment must be received by check or credit card upon receipt of invoice before image files will be provided. We reserve the right to refuse to scan materials that may be damaged during the scanning process. Any item requested for digital reproduction will be considered for addition to PPL’s publicly-available online collections.