In his will, Mr. Folger spoke of an institution "for promoting and diffusing knowledge." The Library has sought continuously since its creation to enlarge its educational function. Its reading room is open to all qualified scholars. Through its photo duplication department and its traveling exhibits it provides services for scholars and school groups outside of the Washington area. The Folger Fellowship program offers senior, short-term, and dissertation year fellowships to both foreign and American scholars. Folger Institute seminars are offered annually in cooperation with the consortium universities of the Washington area. A program of lectures, concerts, and cultural events is held at the Folger theater and open to the general public. A publication program further contributes to the Library's objective of "defusing knowledge" of Shakespeare, of English culture, and of the Renaissance.
Through the generosity of the Friends of the Amherst College Library and the Alpha Delta Phi Fund, two Amherst students each year are offered Folger Fellowships. These Fellowships, available by application to the Folger Grants Committee, cover the costs of a two-week January residence at the Folger to work on an honors or other project of the student's design. Folger Shakespeare Library