The New York Public Library is one the world’s most important public library systems providing service to three boroughs of New York City. The library has over ten million holdings including the original manuscript of the Declaration of Independence and the Gutenberg Bible. Today there are 87 libraries in Manhattan, The Bronx and Staten Island with all but 10 being branch libraries. The remaining libraries are central libraries, research libraries and library for the blind and deaf. Branch libraries operate with public funding from the city of New York and the main and research libraries tend to have private philanthropic benefactors.
What is the history of the New York Public Library?
The modern New York Public Library system grew out of two large but financially insolvent private libraries donated for public use and a trust of 2.4 million dollars left for the establishment of a library by former New York Governor Samuel Tilden. The Astor and Lenox libraries were merged their assets with assets from the Tilden foundation and oversaw the construction of the current main branch of the New York Public Library, with its iconic Library Lion statues on Fifth Avenue between 40th and 42nd streets. An additional grant from Andrew Carnegie saw the establishments of several branch libraries.
How do I get a library card from the New York Public Library?
Any person that lives, works, attends school or pays property taxes in New York may receive a library card free of charge. Proof of identity is required to apply for a library card or pick up a card applied for on the New York Public Library website. Valid government ID for adults includes driver’s licenses and permits. Young adults may present school IDs or report cards. There is an additional list of accepted identifications at https://www.nypl.org/help/library-card/terms-conditions but the applicant must have two of these forms of identification. Children under 11 years must be accompanied by an adult. There are temporary and limited exceptions for non-New York residents that wish to utilize library services. Most on-site library resources do not require the user to have a library card.
It is important to note that library cards expire every three years and must be renewed by presenting acceptable forms of identification. There is a $1.00 fee to replace lost or stolen cards and there will be fines for overdue materials. To access the New York Public Libraries’ research buildings, one must acquire a special card, known as an Access Card to enter and use any of the four NYPL research libraries.
What are other services provided by the New York Public Library?
The NYPL offers premium research services that help individuals locate materials related to their needs. The library also has the ability to reproduce materials and grant permissions to publish some materials in the collection with fees depending on whether the file must be scanned and the re-rights right granted to the individual to use public domain or rights-controlled works.
Hours and locations will vary so for information on branch libraries please visit: https://www.nypl.org/locations