New York Public Library

Public Library New York

The New York Public Library (NYPL) in Manhattan is the classic building with the grand stairway flanked by two marble lions. This New York Public Library main building, whose official name is the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building, opened its doors in 1911 after years of construction. The research center is the main branch of the NYPL and is located on the corner of Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street, next to Bryant Park. You can visit this Beaux-Arts style building for free and can use the internet and the workspaces.


Rooms of New York Public Library

The New York Public Library is the second-largest public library in the United States. NYPL is located in various locations throughout New York, with the one at Bryant Park being the most famous and impressive. The imposing building with its high ceilings, grand staircases, and mysterious halls is nice to discover. The NYC library is “guarded” by the two lions Patience and Fortitude standing in front of the entrance.

Astor Hall

When you enter the library through the main entrance on Fifth Avenue, Astor Hall is the first room you see. Every part is covered in white marble, the arches are high and there are many details. The names of the main donors are engraved on the pillars. From here you can explore the building further.

Treasures Exhibition

The New York Public Library has collected 56 million items over the past 125 years. Some of the most extraordinary items are being displayed in the exhibition Treasures, located right across the main entrance. You can see a fair copy of the Declaration of Independence that was written by Thomas Jefferson, the Bill of Rights from 1789, and a map of The Commissioners’ Plan of 1811, that laid out the future development of Manhattan. It’s also home to the original Winnie the Pooh and his friends, who are fun to visit when you’re travelling with kids. A free audio tour guides you through the exhibition.

Periodicals & Jewish Division

On the ground floor, you’ll find the Periodicals & Jewish Division. Editions of 200 magazines and newspapers from around the world can be found in the DeWitt Wallace Periodical Room. Many editions of, among others, The New York Times, Le Monde, and The Yale Review are available. From this room, you can walk into the Dorot Jewish Division. This space has one of the most important public collections devoted to Jewish studies of the world.

Rose Main Reading Room

The Rose Main Reading Room, on the third floor, is the heart of the library. In the space, which is as long as a football field, readers can browse works from the collections. Several great writers have found inspiration here and developed their ideas further on the oak desks. Because it is a research library, books may not be borrowed and can only be read in the building.

Public Library New York - Entrance Public Library New York - Reading Room

Visit the Public Library in New York

The Public Library is free to visit and is located close to Summit One Vanderbilt. If you have a lot of time, you can explore all the rooms. If you only have a short amount of time to spend here, you can admire the impressive exhibition Treasures and walk to the Rose Main Reading Room on the third floor. With the wooden benches and golden desk lamps, this is the most famous room of the building. Access to the Rose Main Reading Room is limited.

You can end your visit to the library in the New York Public Library Shop. Here you can buy classic and contemporary books, as well as souvenirs and gifts. You will find the ground floor shop to the right of Astor Hall.

Eric’s Tip: “If you or your fellow traveler needs to go to the bathroom and you are near NYPL, I recommend going in here. The toilets have very easy access and there is hardly a queue. Download my Eric’s New York app to see where else you can find public restrooms in New York.”

Practical Information

When you want to visit the Public Library during your trip to New York, you have to take several rules into account. For example, you should speak quietly, as people are working. Therefore, you are also requested to turn your phone off or in silent mode. You are not allowed to eat or drink in the building, except in designated areas. You are allowed to take pictures, but do not use a flash or a tripod. In addition, make sure you have an ID with you, this can be requested at the entrance. Here it’s also possible that your belongings are checked.

  • Opening hours:
    • Monday: 10:00 – 18:00
    • Tuesday and Wednesday: 10:00 – 20:00
    • Thursday – Saturday: 10:00 – 18:00
    • Closed on Sundays
  • Location: 476 Fifth Avenue

When is the New York Public Library open?

See the opening hours of the New York Public Library here.

Where is the New York Public Library located?

The main branch of the New York Public Library is located on the corner of Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street.

Is the New York Public Library free?

Yes, the New York Public Library is free to enter. Read more.

Can you take photos in the New York Public Library?

Yes, you can take photos in the New York Public Library. Read more about the rules here.

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