Incorporated in 1810, the Salem Athenaeum is an independent membership library and cultural center hosting lectures, concerts, plays, discussion groups, author and poetry readings, storytelling, workshops for readers and writers, and literary social events.
Library holdings include a contemporary circulating collection of fiction, non-fiction and children’s literature as well as historical research collections in literature for adults and children, natural sciences, political and social sciences, theology and travel.
Beginning in 2017, the Salem Athenaeum became the presenter of the Salem Literary Festival.
To preserve and excite the literary and cultural passions of the North Shore
Salem Athenaeum Values Statement
Working together with friends and neighbors throughout the North Shore of Massachusetts and beyond, the Salem Athenaeum is committed to the pursuit of knowledge through life-long learning, self-discovery, and association.
The Athenæum warmly welcomes all individuals, creating a safe space for social contact and connection and embracing people irrespective of race, gender, religion, national origin, ethnicity, disability, age, sexual orientation, and socioeconomic status.
Our historic collection is a departure point for a journey of mind and body, where education is as much about passion as it is about accomplishment. Through program offerings as diverse as the community we serve, members and guests are encouraged to be inquisitive, learn in unconventional ways, and discover new interests.
Embrace the Future as Stewards of the Past:
An independent membership library for over 200 years, the Athenaeum has been able to curate a collection that is as extraordinary as it is timeless. By increasing the relevance and visibility of this incredible asset and improving access to the historic structure that houses it, we honor and extend our rich legacy by encouraging current and future generations to make their mark.