January 23, 2022

Report: Penn Libraries and Venerable Philadelphia Athenaeum Form Bookish Alliance

From the Philadelphia Inquirer:

The Athenaeum of Philadelphia and Penn Libraries have entered into an unusual partnership that will allow users of Penn’s vast library system, which encompasses many millions of volumes, to gain access to the Athenaeum’s renowned, but much smaller, collection.

Similarly, members of the Athenaeum, founded in 1814 and Philadelphia’s last remaining subscription library, will gain borrowing and research privileges from Penn.

“It’s a wonderful benefit for our members,” said Athenaeum executive director Peter Conn. “It’s a wonderful benefit to be more visible…. We do have a remarkable collection of historical materials, mostly of the city of Philadelphia and the Delaware Valley region.


Jon Shaw, Penn associate vice provost and deputy university librarian, said the partnership arrangement expands Penn’s efforts in a number of ways, not the least being the library’s efforts to explore “novel and experimental” affiliations.

The Athenaeum relationship, he said, “was better than creating a new type of collection; it was access to a historic collection.

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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.