Top 10 Secret Libraries of New York


New York has more than 200 libraries, and the majority of New Yorkers are familiar with most of these libraries. But do you know that there are some secret libraries in New York City as well that many people might not be aware of? From non-profit societies and private clubs to universities and pop-up places right on the streets, following are some of the best secret libraries of the City:

General Society of Mechanics and Tradesmen of the City of New York

General Society of Mechanics and Tradesmen of the City of New York

Originated in 1875, the society was aimed at providing educational and cultural opportunities to skilled merchants and their families. Expanding over the years, the society started a library in the year 1820, which prevails to date as one of the best hubs of books on the subject of trade, mechanics, and culture.

Situated in the heart of the city in Manhattan, the library houses more than 10,000 volumes. They consist of books to enhance your knowledge about trade and mechanics, and even if you want a recreational reading, the building has a lot to offer you. It supports the educational activities of the society and even general members.

Location: 20 West 44th street, Midtown, Manhattan

Conjuring Arts Research Centre

For those who want to know the secrets behind the greatest pieces of illusions and secrets behind magic, this library is the perfect place. Lining the walls of this 12,000 book library, are brilliant relics, articles of illusion, and books containing information on the dark arts dating back to the 15th century. If you are a keen learner of such arts, this is the place to go. The Conjuring Arts Research Center promises the provision of all magical knowledge you are looking for.

Location: 11 West, 30th Street, Midtown, Manhattan

Chancellor Robert R Livingston Masonic Library

Heard a lot about the freemason? But if you want a proper insight into the history and culture of the Freemasons, this is the place to visit. If you possess a keen sight for secretive topics such as this, the library boasts 60,000 volumes to nourish the reader with information about the freemasons, their origin, culture and fate. The stacks of books are enriched by the display of artefacts, masterpieces, and furniture influenced from and rooted in the Masonic era.

Location: 71 West 23rd Street, 14th Floor, Midtown, Manhattan

Centre for Fiction

Mercantile Library
The Mercantile Library in the Astor Opera House building, 1886

The implications of fiction in our lives cannot be denied. Fiction is a result of creativity and imagination, and libraries are home to the people who are blessed with these. The library containing the best works of fiction classics and those published recently has an interesting history to hear. It was established in 1820 as the Mercantile Library of New York. The library was founded to help engage merchants and nobles in the literary arts in a time of great potential. The New York library expanded over the years and now contains more than 60,000 books. The lovers of fiction are advised to stop by the place and nurture their imaginations with the extraordinary works of fiction ever written, all available under one roof.

Location: 17 East, 47th street, Midtown, Manhattan

Harvard Club of New York 

Harvard Club of New York 

If you are a graduate of Harvard and looking for catching up with friends in a literary atmosphere, you may want to be a member. Built on the lines of colonial architecture, the Harvard Club contains a beautiful library boasting 30,000 books. However, it is a private social club that is open to members only, which are alumni of the prestigious Harvard University.

It provides scholarships for undergraduate of Harvard College. The library is adjoining to the other facilities provided in the club. It continues to be a second home to Harvard alumni and friends to help them stay connected through the years. We recommend you check out the link and see the most reliable book recommendations online.

Location: 35 West, 44 Street, Midtown Manhattan

Interference Archive

Situated in Brooklyn, this library is a product of contemporary times. The library was established in 2011, privately for collections of materials including books, prints, literature, and even music used in the social movements through time. It aimed at establishing a link between social movements and literature. The library houses all material acquired from such campaigns.

To its credit are various public exhibitions held for the display of the ephemera. From time to time, the place holds public talks and discussions about anti-war movements and discussions about slogans and posters.

Location: 131, 8th Street, Gowanus Brooklyn

The Explorers Club 

If you have a taste for exploration, this is the place for you. The explorers club was founded in 1904 by seven polar explorers. And it definitely contains materials for the inquisitive. The library’s collection includes books about land, sea, air and space. It fosters these books from all eras. Exploration treasures from centuries fill the shelves of this library. Artefacts from various expeditions adorn the walls.

For those with a curious mind and soul that divulges in the hidden treasures of nature, this is the place. For it is hard to have the material of your interest all in a single beautiful building. As a bonus, you may see flags from various expeditions displayed on the walls.

Location: 46 Street, Upper Eastside Manhattan

The Brooklyn Art Library

Art is from the soul. And what better place there is than the home of art? The Brooklyn Art Library is home to all kinds of pieces of art. Sketchbooks form a major part of the collection. Situated in a quiet street in New York, the library has, without doubt, an artistic ambience. Anyone can be part of this amazing project if they participate in the sketchbook project.

The towering white shelves are home to sketchbooks sent from all around the world, which the art enthusiasts can visit and explore. The artistic aesthetic scene is itself inviting, and definitely soothing to the eyes of a lover of art.

Location: 28 Frost St, Brooklyn, NY 11211

Grolier Club

This library remains a place to be especially visited by bibliophiles and enthusiasts of Graphics art. It fosters 100,000 books on the subject of art and history of the book. In the digital era, it promises to protect and foster the art of the book. It houses bibliographies, catalogs, and manuscripts on the history and culture, and the trade of books. Having a soothing ambience inside, the library is a treasure trove of all sorts of catalogs and literature on book arts.

Location: 47 East 60th Street, Upper East Side, Manhattan

The 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)

Constructed in the Victorian Gothic style of architecture, the library was opened in 1967. The building was previously a courthouse and prison. However, it was abandoned and became a shelter for animals and rodents. In an effort to save the building from getting damaged, the members of the Greenwich Village Community decided to convert the space into a library. For this purpose, they motivated Mayor Robert F. Wagner to help them do so. Thus, the amazing library was born.

One of the Jefferson Market Library’s main features is the lookout tower, which has been used on several occasions to watch the proceedings of the courthouse. Now, as a museum and library, it houses preserved relics from the past and several books for researchers and explorers.

Location: 425 6th Ave, New York, NY 10011

Final Words

New York isn’t just a place to enjoy a variety of fancy restaurants and street foods, but it is also home to several beautiful libraries that are not less than a treasure for bookworms, researchers, and geeks out there. If you haven’t visited these secret libraries of New York, then make a plan a trip to one of these the next time you are feeling like visiting a library.

Discover the hidden literary treasures of New York City and delve deeper into its secret libraries with our latest exploration.

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