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This Landmark Beaux-Arts building houses one of the world’s greatest collections. Libraries are the memory of humankind, irreplaceable repositories of documents of human thought and action. The New York Public Library is such a memory bank par excellence, one of the great knowledge institutions of the world, its myriad collections ranking with those of the British Library, the Library of Congress, and the Bibliothèque nationale de France. Virtually all of the Library’s many collections and services are freely available to all comers. In fact, the Library has but one criterion for admission: curiosity.
The New York Public Library comprises simultaneously a set of scholarly research collections and a network of community libraries, and its intellectual and cultural range is both global and local, while singularly attuned to New York City.
That combination lends to the library an extraordinary richness. It is special also in being historically a privately managed, nonprofit corporation with a public mission, operating with both private and public financing in a century-old, still evolving private-public partnership. The research collections resemble the holdings of the great national and university libraries, and the community circulating libraries resemble classic American municipal libraries.
Map NYC Public Library