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Redwood Library To Charge Admission For First Time In 269 Years

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Newport’s historic Redwood Library is about to start charging entrance fees for the first time in its 269-year history. The private library was founded...

Newport’s historic Redwood Library is about to start charging entrance fees for the first time in its 269-year history. The private library was founded in 1747 and has been funded through a combination of membership fees, donations and grants. 

But this year the library has fallen short of expenses. Spokeswoman Gretchen Markert said starting next month they will charge a $10 entrance fee for all non-members who visit the library collection.

“In order to remain open every day, open with all kinds of wonderful exhibits and programs, and to be sustainable for the next hundreds of years. It really is fair and equitable for the people who come and enjoy our space and our programs, to help support it.”

Markert says similar, non-profit cultural institutions in Newport run with similar models, and does not believe the change will negatively affect attendance.

“We hope that people will leave here thinking that it was money well spent,” said Markert. “That they had access to this incredible, historic space. And that they think that they’re happy they supported the mission of the Redwood.”

Designated as a national landmark, the Redwood Library is thought to be the oldest lending library in the country that still operates in its original building. Library members will not have to pay the entrance fee, and Markert says the doors will open at no charge to the public on the first Sunday of every month. 

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The interior of the Redwood Library
The interior of the Redwood Library