New York Public Library

Carrere & Hastings

Fifth Ave., bet. W40 and W42.





The New York Public Library (NYPL) is one of the leading public libraries of the world and is one of America's most significant research libraries. It is unusual in that it is composed of a very large circulating public library system combined with a very large non-lending research library system. It is simultaneously one of the largest public library systems in the United States and one of the largest research library systems in the world. It is a privately managed, nonprofit corporation with a public mission, operating with both private and public financing. Its flagship building, on Fifth Ave. running from 40th to 42nd Street in Manhattan, is a National Historic Landmark.

The historian David McCullough has described the New York Public Library as one of the five most important libraries in America, the others being the Library of Congress, the Boston Public Library, and the university libraries of Harvard and Yale.

Although it is called the "New York Public Library" the system does not cover all five boroughs of America's largest city, only Manhattan, The Bronx and Staten Island. New York City does not have a single public library system but three of them. The other two are the Brooklyn Public Library and the Queens Borough Public Library, serving the boroughs of Brooklyn and Queens, respectively. This came about because these three library systems predate the consolidation of New York City in 1898.

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