New York Public Library: A Majestic Cultural Place

History and Architecture of the New York Public Library

The New York Public Library appeared 1895 from the merger of the Lenox and Astor libraries. In 1901, this new library also merged with the New York Free Circulating Library.

The main building opened its doors on May 24, 1911, 14 years after the start of the work. Over the years, the library changed and in the 1980s underground rooms were added, which led to an increase in the surface area. of more than 10 m²

As noted, the New York Public Library is divided into several locations around the city. In total, it has 89 completely free libraries: 4 research libraries without loans, 4 for loans, one for the blind and disabled and 77 local libraries.

A few words about its architecture

Its exterior architecture is Beaux-Arts style and at the entrance, two beautiful lions in stone enthroned. These were sculpted by Edward Clark Potter and in 1930 they were nicknamed "Patience" and "Fortitude" by Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia.

Inside the library, you will also be impressed: between the vaults, the chandeliers or the paintings, this place is magnificent and the subdued lights bring a calm and intimate atmosphere.

New York Library: a place of many surprises!

The New York Public Library is a majestic place that contains millions of books. To get inside, just go through the front door: entry is free and open access ; there is therefore no need for identification.

Once inside, take the large stairs in the entrance hall to access the reading rooms to consult all the books you want.

But if you're here just for viewing, feel free to visit the following rooms: the Rose Main Reading Room and the Bill Blass Public Catalog Room located on the third floor. Why these rooms? Because they are splendid!

But beware ! At the New York Public Library, calm and silence are required. If you make noise, you will be called to order. So, sit down at a table, read a book or rest while admiring the decorations of the rooms.

Good to know: computers connected to the Internet and to catalog databases are available upon reservation if necessary. Otherwise, Wi-Fi is available throughout the building: ideal if you want to do some research or check your emails!

Finally, the New York Library organizes temporary exhibitions and events suitable for adults and children alike (if you are interested, visit the library website to consult the calendar of upcoming events).

The different rooms of the library

The New York Library contains millions of books, manuscripts and others. It is therefore a cultural hotspot where many people like to spend time to work or read.

In terms of rooms, these are very many. In particular, you will be able to find the periodicals room which contains archives of thousands of periodicals from many countries, the catalog room, the map room or even rooms where thematic collections can be found.

In each room, there are also sections which each correspond to a particular theme: architecture, art, history ...

And if you wish to access a room containing “special” collections, the request must be made in the room concerned or on the internet.

Practical information: the collections exhibited in these rooms are very fragile; your personal belongings should therefore be left outside.

A cultural place to visit also for its beauty

The New York Public Library is a cultural venue that will delight all reading enthusiasts with its impressive collection of books. But this library is also a majestic place where natural light perfectly highlights the rooms and their architecture. By the way, don't forget that the Rose Main Reading Room is a huge reading room lit by incredible chandeliers and large windows. Its decoration is also impressive!

Today, the New York library is very popular with people wishing to relax with a book or work, but also by those curious to discover this building "guarded" by two stone lions. In addition, she is located in the heart of Manhattan close to many of the city's attractions. So if you walk past it, go through the door and enter; you will not regret it ! And if you don't want to miss anything from this library, know that guided tours are organized.

The New York Public Library is also appeared in several films : in The Day After, The Secret of the Planet of the Apes or SOS Fantômes.

New York Library Addresses and Hours

Opening Hours: 

  • Monday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday: 10 a.m. to 18 p.m.
  • Tuesday and Wednesday: from 10 a.m. to 20 p.m.
  • Sunday: from 13 p.m. to 17 p.m.

Address : 

The New York Library is located at 476 Fifth Avenue (42nd Street and Fifth Avenue), New York, NY, 10018.

Once your visit to the library is over, do not hesitate to walk around Bryant Park, a charming park where it is pleasant to rest or read a book from the library.

A trip to the New York library is therefore a visit that I strongly advise you, especially since it is open access and completely free! And if you are a library fan, here is the Morgan Library and Museum where more than 350 pieces are on display!

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