The New York Public Library has an incredible branch system around the boroughs, but it’s only a part of New York City’s literary resources. From private clubs, to nonprofit societies, to pop up places right out in the streets, here are some of secret libraries of the city.
General Society of Mechanics and Tradesmen
20 West 44th Street, Midtown, Manhattan
Since 1785, the General Society of Mechanics and Tradesmen of the City of New York has gathered over 10,000 volumes with focus on trade and technical material. It also has a bank vould lock collection on the second floor.
47 E 60th Street, Upper East Side, Manhattan
The private club on the Upper East Side started in 1884 and has a research library with tomes on all things book related, including book selling, bookbinding, the history of printing, and book auction catalogs. It also hosts public exhibitions.
Conjuring Arts Research Center
11 West 30th Street, 5th Floor, Midtown, Manhattan
With a stunning collection of 12 000 books and nd artifacts, the Conjuring Arts Research Center invites visitors to learn the tricks of the secret trade. Manuscripts of magic methods dating back to the 15th century are available here.
The Chancellor Robert R. Livingston Masonic Library
71 West 23rd Street, 14th Floor, Midtown, Manhattan
It has one of the largest collections on Freemasonry in the world, with more than 60,000 volumes related to Masonic history.
New York Society Library
53 East 79th Street, Upper East Side, Manhattan
Started in 1754, the New York Society Library is NYC’s oldest cultural institution may also be its most stately library. Has over 300,000 volumes, and adds another 4,000 annually. However, only members can borrow or use its beautiful top floors.
Center for Fiction
17 East 47th Street, Midtown, Manhattan
The Center for Fiction is the only nonprofit organization in the United States dedicated to fiction. With over 85,000 volumes dedicated to fiction and mistery.
Hispanic Society of America
613 West 155th Street, Washington Heights, Manhattan
The Hispanic Society of America is one of the city’s most beautiful overlooked museums, with its Spanish art holdings including work by El Greco, Goya, and Velázquez. Even more overlooked is its library. With over 15,000 books dating prior to 1700, it has one of the most significant collections of such rare editions outside of Spain.
Harvard Club of New York City
35 West 44th Street, Midtown, Manhattan
With over 30,000 books, the library of the Havard Club is only available for members and their guests, who have to oblige to dress code.
148 W 37th Street, Floor 13, Midtown, Manhattan
The Midtown space also includes the Barbara A. Margolis Library with over 12,000 books on gardening, botanical illustrations, American landscape history, and American agriculture going back to the 19th century.
46 East 70th Street, Upper East Side, Manhattan
Along with its taxidermy polar bear and other beasts and relics of expeditions, the Explorers Club library has over 13,000 volumes and 5,000 maps.
Brooklyn Art Library
103A North 3rd Street, Williamsburg, Brooklyn
Anyone can have a book in the Brooklyn Art Library if they participate in the Sketchbook Project. The Williamsburg library is the home of the collaborative initiative, where artists and amateurs can create their own books around different themes. These volumes are then available to be checked out in the library with a free library card.
Source: Best Design Books