Book cases on the wall of the Athenaeum.

The Athenæum is both a room in Carleton's Laurence McKinley Gould Library and an ongoing program of cultural events held in that room. The term "Athenæum," popular in the 19th Century to denote an institution for the promotion of literary and scientific learning, is derived from the name of the Greek Goddess of wisdom, Athena.

The Athenæum is one way in which the library plays its role as a central educational and cultural institution of the college. In addition to serving as repository and gateway to the record of human knowledge, the library actively promotes use of the collections through discussion and debate of ideas. Through the Athenæum, the library hosts a wide variety of lectures, readings, discussions, book groups, and seminars. By bringing together people from different disciplines for intellectual discourse, Athenæum events celebrate the world of books, the life of the mind, scholarly and scientific pursuits, and the arts and letters.

Athenæum events are intended to enhance the academic and intellectual life of the college, and do not encompass administrative or strictly recreational activities and meetings. Athenæum events are open to all members of the Carleton Community, as well as to members of the Northfield community.

Reservations:  To reserve this space for your event, please email

Carleton Athenaeum logo Entrance to the Athenaeum