The Athenaeum of Philadelphia Services
In the Yellow Phase
Dear Athenaeum Members and Friends,
The Athenaeum staff have developed protocols and procedures for some contactless services during the Yellow Phase to augment our continued virtual services. I encourage you to read this bulletin carefully as we have outlined new procedures for library vestibule pick up and drop-off, research, and Regional Digital Imaging Center (RDIC) “curbside” pick up and drop-off. Scroll to the bottom of this bulletin to see our latest in ebooks , Athenaeum Book Club , and Speaker Series .

Please note the following:
  • As long as the City of Philadelphia remains in the Yellow Phase of reopening, the Athenaeum building remains closed to all but staff, vendors, and emergency services. 
  • In compliance with the Commonwealth’s Yellow Phase “Safer at Home,” only some Athenaeum staff have returned to the office, and we are working staggered shifts. All staff continue to work remotely when not in the building. 
  • We are following the directives of the Commonwealth, the City, and the CDC to maintain the highest level of safety, social distancing, and cleaning in the Athenaeum. 
  • We ask anyone coming by the Athenaeum for vestibule pick up or drop-off of library books or the back entrance for RDIC services to wear a mask and practice social distancing. We ask if you are experiencing any symptoms of illness that you remain at home and come back on a different day. 
  • Because of staggered staffing and to protect everyone’s health, all services are by appointment only.
Library Pick Up and Drop-Off Procedures
The staff of the Athenaeum of Philadelphia is pleased to offer limited pickup and drop-off of library materials. Although we look forward to the time when we can serve you in person, we are not there yet. Please read all of the following instructions so that this will go as smoothly as possible.

1. Pickup and drop-off of materials will take place in the front vestibule of the Athenaeum. You will not be able to enter further into the building at this time.
2. Initial hours will be on Tuesdays and Thursdays between 10 AM and 2:30 PM. Some additional times may be available by appointment if you are unable to come on those days.
3. All materials will need to be pre-ordered . The booklists are online here . You may continue to search the online catalog , which remains the best way to see what the library owns. Please note that we will not initially be receiving items from the University of Pennsylvania or from the LIBRA offsite storage facility; any requests for items from those sources may be delayed indefinitely. When searching the catalog, items listed as "Available" are currently in the building and ready to be taken out. Items that say "See request options" are not currently onsite. You may request them, but there will be a wait. There may also be requests ahead of yours. Remember that many of your fellow members borrowed materials before the shutdown, and it will take some time for them to be returned. Please be patient. 
4. If you have an account in Franklin , the University of Pennsylvania online public access catalog where the Athenaeum's materials are listed, you may still use it to place requests. If you do not have an account, please email the Librarian at to place your requests. If you are having email trouble you may call at (215) 925-2688. Please note that the staff is only in the building part-time, so using the telephone may result in significant delays.
5. Magazines that are normally on our periodicals table may be requested by email as well. If you would like an issue (or more) added to your pick-up order, just let us know. Titles available include Antiques , Architectural Digest , The Atlantic, Bon Appétit , Consumer Reports , Consumer Reports on Health, Country Life (weekly), Fine Gardening , The New Yorker (weekly), Vanity Fair , and a few others. We regret that our online trial for Press Reader has now ended. As with other materials, the item you want may be checked out. We did receive the March-May issues that came out during our closure.
6. Audiobooks and DVDs are library materials and are listed in the catalog and available for pickup.
7. Please do NOT come until you receive notification that your items are on hold for you. For books, DVDs, and audiobooks, this will continue to be in the form of an automated email from the Franklin catalog. If you order only periodicals we will send you a separate email, otherwise they will be ready with your books.
8. When you pick up your materials, please continue practicing Corona Courtesies.
  • Masks should be worn when making pickups, unless you are unable to do so for medical reasons.
  • Materials will be on a table in the vestibule with a post-it with your name on it, or in a bag with your name.
  • Please do not touch materials in anyone else's pile unless you have pre-arranged to pick up their materials for them. This includes not browsing a book to see if you want to read it later. We MUST limit the number of people handling items.
  • There will be a cart for returning items. Please place your materials on the cart (leaving them in a bag is okay). Do not touch the other items on the cart. Do not take items from the returns cart, even if you are "on the list for it." You may not be the next person on the list for the item.
  • Returned items will be quarantined before being handled by staff. It may take several days for your items to register as returned in the system. Please be patient.
  • Remember that you will be opening the door to the vestibule and picking up items that have been handled by staff. Please remember handwashing and sanitizer recommendations. You may wish to quarantine materials in your home before reading.
  • If you see another member in the vestibule when you arrive, try to wait outside until they are finished, in order to maintain social distancing. They should not take long.
  • If you see a friend or neighbor in the vestibule it would be better to have any conversations outside in open air to maintain social distancing.
9. You may return University of Pennsylvania materials, and we will send them back as soon as their services have resumed. As stated above, no items will be received from Penn until further notice.
10. You may still receive books and other items by mail, if you do not wish to enter the building. Please note that delays are likely.
We look forward to serving your reading needs.

We continue to order ebooks and hope you will enjoy reading these recommendations. All ebooks can be found here . Contact Lois Reibach at for assistance.
Research Services
No In-Person Research at the Athenaeum is permitted during the Yellow Phase, as per the order of Governor Wolf, Mayor Kenney, and the Department of Health of the City of Philadelphia. The Athenaeum will attempt to assist researchers as far as is safe and possible. It is important to note much of our collection is stored off-site in facilities that remain shut down. 
Research questions and requests for reproductions of items in the Athenaeum’s collections should be directed by e-mail to Curator of Architecture, Bruce Laverty . Because of our staggered staffing, we prefer you to reach out with an email rather than a telephone request. The Athenaeum thanks you for your patience during this difficult transition period.
As always, our online services can be used 24/7:
RDIC “Curbside” Drop-off/ Pick up Instructions

As of June 10, 2020 the Regional Digital Imaging Center of the Athenaeum of Philadelphia (RDIC) began curbside drop-off/ pick up scanning and printing services.

  1. Drop-off and Pick up of materials is by appointment only.
  2. To schedule an appointment please contact Jim Carroll at or Mike Seneca at If you prefer to call, please expect delays as staff is not in the building full-time yet.
  3. Drop-off and Pick up appointments are available between 9:00 am and 2:30 pm, Monday through Thursday. The RDIC will be closed on Fridays until further notice. 
  4. Drop-off and Pick up will be located in the back parking area of the Athenaeum. Accessible by vehicle or foot from St. James Street (along the side of our building).
  5. Please arrive at your scheduled appointment time or within 10 minutes of your scheduled appointment time, to ensure your appointment can be honored.
  6. No unscheduled customers.
  7. The building is closed to all visitors. Under no circumstance should anyone enter the building. If you miss your scheduled appointment, please contact Mike or Jim to reschedule.
  8. Only one customer per appointment. No shared work or appointments.
  9. Masks must be worn when dropping off or picking up and social distancing practices need to be followed.
  10. Payment can be made electronically. We can provide a paper Invoice for your records or a digital version can be sent along with a link to pay your bill.

Thank you for your consideration in following these guidelines while using our services, until conditions in the area improve and we are able to begin to resume a more normal schedule and operating practices. We appreciate your support.
Athenaeum Book Club

The next meeting of the Athenaeum Open Book Club on Zoom will be Thursday, July 2, at 3 pm . Registration is required in order to receive the link. The book to be discussed is Drive Your Plow over the Bones of the Dead by Olga Tokarczuk. It is a winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature and is described by the Chicago Tribune as “A brilliant literary murder mystery.” We have one copy of the ebook . Head House Books has it available as a hardback or in large print.
Athenaeum Speaker Series

We are grateful to Head House Books for partnering with us on book sales. If you purchase a Speaker Series book from Head House Books, they will donate a portion of the proceeds to the Athenaeum of Philadelphia. You can order at or 215-923-9525. Register today for our events!
Wed, Jun 17, 2020 5:30 PM EST
Diana Schaub on Booker T. Washington and the Lessons of Lincoln
Wed, Jun 24, 2020 5:30 PM EST
Thom Nickels on Beyond Bricks and Mortar: Real Life Stories
Thu, Jul 2, 2020 3:00 PM EST
Athenaeum Book Club
Wed, Jul 8, 2020 5:30 PM EST
Andrea Barnet on Change-makers: Four Visionary Women who Made a Difference
Wed, Jul 15, 2020 6:00 PM EST
Hamilton: How the Musical Remixes American History
We are all grateful for our health and ability to serve you and grateful for your support. Please contact me at if you have any questions or ideas as we move forward.

With appreciation,
Beth Shalom Hessel
Executive Director