January 18, 2022

Learn All About the Gorgeous Fleet Library at the Rhode Island School of Design

Update: For more images of the library take a look at the brochure linked at the bottom of this post.

Here’s an in-depth look at the Fleet Library at the Rhode Island School of Design.

The article appears in The Brown Daily Herald, the student paper at nearby Brown University.

From the Article:

At first glance, the former Rhode Island Hospital Trust Bank building looks much like it did in the early 1900s. The same spherical clock hangs from the high domed ceiling, much like a similar clock hangs in the converted train station in Paris that is now the Musee d’Orsay. The clock is one of several remnants of the historic bank building that decorate the interior of what is now the Rhode Island School of Design’s Fleet Library.


One of many creative uses of the space, the unobtrusive location of the study carrels leaves more room for the 100,000 volumes shelved in double rows of stacks. There are many more oversized art books compared to regular books, [Carol] Terry, [director of Library Services ] said, so it was especially important for the library to support the size of the collection. The second floor is also home to the soon-to-be-completed material resources center, which will offer students a place for “hands-on” experiments with a wide array of materials, including glass, ceramics, animal products, textiles and wood.


Beyond books and files, the Fleet also houses RISD students on floors three through 11. Students moved into these upper floor dorms in 2005, though the library itself was not completed until the following year, Terry said. Part of the delay in redesigning the library after RISD received the space in 2002 was due to the necessity of completing the student housing project first, Terry said. RISD formerly housed two-thirds of its volumes in a smaller library — delegating one-third to storage — until Fleet was completed in 2006.

Much More in the Complete Article

See Also: Fleet Library Brochure (PDF)
Loaded with color images of the building.

About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.