Athenaeum of Philadelphia partners with University of Pennsylvania to create expansive digital library resources

Two Global Philadelphia Association (GPA) members recently announced a new partnership: the Athenaeum of Philadelphia has linked up with the University of Pennsylvania to bring their online resources together. The Athenaeum staff has incorporated their online resource catalog into the University of Pennsylvania's newly upgraded Franklin digital archival system, which contains more than 7 million volumes from across the university’s library collections.

This new partnership brings real benefits to subscribers at both libraries. All Athenaeum members will be offered courtesy borrowing privileges at the University of Pennsylvania and members of both institutions will be able to login to the Franklin system to see titles available across both collections.

This partnership provides a natural fit for both organizations, two of Philadelphia’s longest established learning institutions. 

The University of Pennsylvania, the United States’ first university, was originally founded as a charity school in 1740 and was reimagined by Founding Father Benjamin Franklin and a team of trustees drawn from Philadelphia’s leading citizens in 1749. Today, it is one of the most prestigious universities in the world, with a global research reputation and a huge library collection, home to many unique volumes that support the teaching of sciences and humanities.

The Athenaeum of Philadelphia was founded just over 70 years later, in 1814, with the purpose of collecting knowledge for the public benefit. Its current building – one of Philadelphia’s first ‘brownstones’ – was designed in 1845 by Scottish-born architect John Notman and declared a National Historic Landmark in 1977. It houses a wide range of materials, including digital books, manuscripts, objects, architectural drawings and photographs, and is a nationally important library.

The Athenaeum regularly hosts exhibitions that celebrate its varied collection. Its latest exhibition, ‘The Federal Presence in Philadelphia’, launches on 28 January 2019 and celebrates the Federal Government’s impact on our city’s architectural landscape.


Article written by Abiel Tesfamariam on behalf of Global Philadelphia Association