About the Collection

The Redwood Library & Athenaeum is dedicated to the acquisition, circulation, preservation, interpretation and exhibition of circulating and non-circulating materials of literary or historical merit as well as objects, art works and other printed material relating to the history of Newport and Aquidneck Island as well as to American culture and its sources. The Redwood seeks to build on its collection strengths while emphasizing its eighteenth century origins.

 As a subscription library, the Redwood Library & Athenaeum must balance the diverse needs and desires of the members with the historic charge of collecting and retaining materials of educational and lasting value. Positioned as a unique resource, the Redwood provides value for the membership through acquiring materials not widely available in local area public and academic libraries, as well as acquiring works of popular interest. Additionally, as the Redwood is open to both researchers and the public, it must also balance the needs of these groups as well.

The development of the collection should be informed primarily by the existing collection strengths, the library’s mission statement, strategic goals and other on-going organizational planning tools. Secondly, the collection should reflect the interests and diversity of the membership when in agreement with the collection strengths. Thirdly, the selection process is informed by space considerations and the ability for the library to participate in the state and nation-wide interlibrary loan program with public, academic and special libraries. The overarching goal is to acquire quality materials of lasting value to the Redwood community. Members are strongly encouraged to suggest titles for acquisition.

Aim to collect and retain authoritative, comprehensive and generalized texts to support Special Collections and in-depth research in these fields:

        • The "long eighteenth-century" U.S. fine and decorative arts
        • U.S. colonial and neoclassical architecture and historic preservation, including early modern British architecture 
        • Eighteenth to nineteenth-century U.S. biography
        • Eighteenth to early twentieth-century (pre-1950) U.S. political, social and economic history

With most concentration on Newport, Aquidneck Island, Rhode Island and New England, radiating with less concentration geographically towards other U.S. environs.

  • For more information, plase consult the full Collection Development Policy, below.