Top 10 Libraries in New York City


The state of New York comprises five boroughs that are Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island, and the Bronx. While this state offers a lot of attractions, for both the locals and foreigners, the libraries of New York City remain the most famous spots of all time. Not only locals, but tourists from all over the world also appreciate the beautiful architecture and the unbounded levels of knowledge that these libraries withhold. For anyone who wants to get the idea of why New York libraries are famous, the following are the top libraries in the state of New York:

The Morgan Library and Museum

The Morgan Library and Museum

Location: 225 Madison Avenue at East 36th Street Manhattan, New York City

With the outstanding architecture and even more beautiful interior, this library is just too good to be true. The Morgan library is mostly known for its unique holdings like the original manuscripts for children’s books, etc. This is not only a library but also a museum with a shop. The most famous part of this spectacular building is its interior that is decorated by the rotunda. 

This amazing interior takes the whole experience of coming to a library to another level.  People from all over the world come to visit this mystical place and enjoy its beauty. Some people even just come to feel the atmosphere and the environment that this magical place possesses.

For more information, read the article on Architectural History of The Morgan Library and Museum.

New York Public Library Main Branch

Stephen A. Schwarzman Building (New York Public Library Main Branch)

Location: 476 Fifth Avenue, Manhattan

Situated in the heart of midtown Manhattan, the main branch of the New York public library, also known as the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building, is one of the most amazing places ever. This building was created back in 1955. It was the biggest marbled building in the United States at that time. This library is included in research branches of the New York Public Library system, and a lot of students and scholars like to spend their time in this beautiful place.

Jefferson Market Library

The Jefferson Market Library
Jefferson Market Court in 1935, with the IRT Sixth Avenue Line in front of it. Photograph by Berenice Abbott (1935)

The Jefferson Market Library is the perfect combination of art and history. This beautiful building is not only home to books of all kinds but, in fact, it has an amazing background as well. This building was initially created to serve as a clock tower. Then, it was used as a courthouse. Once the courthouse was moved, this building got converted into a library without disturbing its architectural values. 

The interior of the library is highly inspired by the mosques of the old times, as it flaunts the colorful glass painted windows. This place is a heaven on earth for people who are interested in gaining knowledge, remarkable architecture, and of course, history.

Poets House

Poets House

Location: 10 River Terrace, New York

This place is a paradise for anyone who is into poetry and arts. This unique place does not have an ordinary library setup. It is actually a poetry house that has preserved the work of big and small artists for decades now. If we had to guess a number, we could say that there are almost a million books of poetry in the Poets House. 

This place is open to the public for free. It is not only an attraction for locals, but tourists also enjoy coming and relaxing in the mystical environment that this library provides. It features a children’s room where a session is conducted for kids every day. The room also has books that are arranged according to age groups of children. There are plenty of programs that are arranged for the adults as well, and people of all ages love to come and get relaxed by what this place has to offer. 

The New York Society Library

The New York Society Library is a dream come true for all the book enthusiasts out there. This place is more on the traditional side. It is basically everything a person imagines when they think about a library.  It comprises 28 rooms and five floors. Each floor is assigned for different purposes. The first floor is for the children, and it has every book that a child can dream of; the same goes for the adult sections on the top floors. 

This library holds up to 300,000 books. The local students and researchers like to spend their time in the building that contains all their favorite books. There is also a facility of living rooms and small common areas for people to relax. All in all, the New York Society Library is one of the best in the state.

The Andrew Heiskell Braille and Talking Book Library

This library is a living proof that the United States treats its disabled society equally. This braille library was built for the blinds as a gesture to show equality. Although this place was initiated for blinds, it is open to other people as well. The shelves are filled with all kinds of books that are all in braille language. The building comprises two floors with sections divided for kids, teens, and adults. 

Other than the books, this library also features high technology products that are specially designed to bring ease in the lives of blind people. From the shelves to the bathroom labels, everything is designed to help the visually impaired people. This is definitely a must-go place for anyone who knows any visually disabled person or who just like the idea of braille generally.

Brooklyn Public Library – Central Branch

Brooklyn Public Library

Location:  Brooklyn, New York City

The Brooklyn Public Library System is one of the best library systems in the world. Even though every branch is top-notch, the central branch of this system is on another level. It is located in the heart of Brooklyn, the Grand Army Plaza. With the wonderful architecture and the spectacular interior, this building definitely checks all the boxes in the field of looks. 

From divided sections for different age groups to a huge auditorium to conduct programs, and a great cafe, this library has pretty much everything a person can wish for. And with the amazing history that this library holds, it is quite famous among the locals and foreigners equally. You can spend hours in the building without getting bored. 

Any person who likes to study history and also happens to love books will find this place as literal heaven on earth. 

Grolier Club

Location: 47 E 60th St, New York

If you think that this place is some old traditional library, then you can’t be more wrong. This place is, in fact, a paradise for collectors. It was designed to collect books and all other kinds of printed assets. This library was initiated under the name of Thomas Phillips who used to collect printed media. Then this place got turned into a club to save the prints, and now nearly 800 people come and join their hands to preserve the old damaged books. 

The building has a structure of ground plus two, and every floor is designated for different fields. The most common reason for the popularity of this place is Thomas Phillips’ closet. That closet is an excellent example of how this place has been preserving the documents. Situated on the second floor, the famous closet features the desk and all the crumbled papers that once belonged to an amazing person named Thomas. All that stuff is now symbolized as the remains of the great collector and showcased wonderfully in the club that he founded.

New York Public Library for Performing Arts

Location: 40 Lincoln Center Plaza, New York

Anyone who appreciates the art of any kind will fall in love with this amazing place that is called the New York Public Library for Performing Arts. This is a branch of the New York Public Library System and is situated in the heart of New York City, Manhattan. With its chic looking exterior and equally beautiful interior, this building is a classic example of modern architecture. This library is not actually very famous for the books, but because of all the non-book holdings that it has preserved there. 

The building is divided into divisions based on different fields of arts like music, dance, and theatre. It holds the manuscripts and all other kinds of essentials needed to create an art masterpiece. Art enthusiasts love to spend their time in the halls of this library looking at the work of all the great artists that this land ever produced.

Brooklyn Historical Society

Location: 128 Pierrepont Street Brooklyn Heights, New York City

We kept The Brooklyn Historical Society (BHS) for the last, not because it is not the best place to visit compared to the others on the list, but because it isn’t just a library like others. Founded in 1863, the BHS is a museum, library, and an educational institute that has played a great role in preserving and encouraging the 400-year history of Brooklyn. 

The library inside The Brooklyn Historical Society is called “The Othmer Library”. There you can find historic maps and atlases of Brooklyn and NYC, a microfilm collection of Brooklyn and Long Island newspapers dating back to the 19th and early 20th century, individual family histories in the genealogy collection, a collection of microfiche pamphlets on slavery and abolition, the Brooklyn Firefighting Collection, the papers of abolitionist clergyman Henry Ward Beecher,  the Brooklyn Council of Churches, and the Pierrepont Papers.

Another great news for bookworms is that the BHS has now (in 2020) made an agreement to get merged with the Brooklyn Public Library, which will combine their rich archival holdings. 

Bonus: Library Way

Library Way or Library Walk is an innovation to the traditional approach of knowledge and art. In the late 90s, the Grand Central decided to change the way we looked at libraries and transformed a street by putting famous book quotes and arts on the wall. You can find this phenomenal place at 41th Street, Midtown Manhattan. Soon after the opening, this place has become one of the most popular tourist attractions in New York. 


Even though there are a lot of means to read books, the original concept of the library still remains the best. Libraries add this essence of purity in any city. And when it comes to New York City, it has some of the most amazing libraries in the entire world. If you are a citizen of New York or you’re there for just a trip, make sure to spare some time and pay a visit to the places mentioned above. You will surely refuel your love for books and libraries there.

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