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Location: Fifth Ave. at 42nd St., New York, NY 10018

Contact: 212.930.0571

First opened in 1911, the New York Public Library was created by bringing together a $2.4 million donation from Samuel J. Tilden with the existing Astor and Lexox Libraries in New York City. The site of the Croton Reservoir was chosen for the new library, and its landmark design was conceived by Dr. John Shaw Billings, director of the New York Public Library.

When the New York Public Library opened, it was the largest marble building in the United States, and was home to over 1 million books when it opened.

Getting to the New York Public Library:

  • New York Public Library Address - 42nd Street and Fifth Avenue
  • New York Public Library Cross Streets - 40th and 42nd Streets
  • New York Public Library Subways - Take the 7, B/D/F/V to 42nd Street/Bryant Park

New York Public Library Phone: 212.930.0830

New York Public Library Admission: Free, though some lectures require tickets costing $15.00.

New York Public Library Hours:

  • Tuesday – Wednesday - 11:00 a.m. - 7:30 p.m.
  • Thursday – Saturday - 10:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.
  • Closed Sundays and Mondays


About the New York Public Library:
The building that most people identify as the New York Public Library, is actually the Humanities and Social Sciences Library, one five research libraries and 81 branch libraries making up the New York Public Library system.

The New York Public Library was created in 1895 by combining the collections of the Astor and Lexox Libraries, which were experiencing financial difficulties, with the $2.4 million trust from Samuel J. Tilden given to "establish and maintain a free library and reading room in the city of New York."

Built on the site of the Croton Reservoir, this Beaux-Arts landmark was the largest marble building built in the United States when it first opened. It was designed by Carrère and Hastings.

Sixteen years later, on May 23, 1911 President William Howard Taft, Governor John Alden Dix and Mayor William J. Gaynor dedicated the Library and it opened to the public the next day.