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New York Public Library

Meet the iconic library lions, explore the Rose Room and marvel at millions of books at New York City’s flagship library.

Whether you visit to read, research or simply roam around, the New York Public Library provides an interesting visit. Although the main branch was renamed the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building in 2008 to honor the famed New York financier, most people still refer to this impressive building along Bryant Park by its original name. Since it opened its doors in 1911, the library has been a welcoming public space and learning center for millions of visitors. Discover famous documents, historic publications and stunning settings at the library.

Find the library in Midtown Manhattan, near Bryant Park. Admire the white marble building, built in an imposing Beaux-Arts style. The celebrated building was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1965, listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1966 and named a New York City Landmark in 1967.

Discover beautiful public spaces at every turn. Don’t miss the famous Rose Main Reading Room, an opulent space bedecked with sparkling chandeliers, lavish wood paneling and an intricately coffered ceiling. Marvel at the McGraw Rotunda, a sweeping space decorated with Edward Laning’s murals illustrating the history of the written word. Discover many of the English language’s most important manuscripts, such as a Gutenberg Bible and an original copy of the Declaration of Independence.

Say hello to the “library lions,” Patience and Fortitude. These regal marble statues have been guarding the library stairs overlooking Fifth Avenue for over a century. The lions were named by Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia in the 1930s to champion the characteristics New Yorkers would need to survive the Great Depression. Their names stuck and today the lions are the mascots and symbols of the New York Public Library.

Join a docent-led Building Tour to learn about the architecture and history of the library. Get an overview of its collections and discover other fun facts. Embark on an Exhibition Tour to explore the library’s current exhibits. All tours are complimentary and meet on the first floor.

Visit the New York Public Library daily, barring special holiday closures. It has reduced hours on Sundays and extended hours on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

Popular Activities at New York Public Library

Ensure you have heaps of time at New York Public Library. Here are some of the best activities:

For many more things to do, have a look at our New York things to do page.


Guide to Exploring New York Public Library


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