Special collections, reading rooms, and curatorial units.
The New York Public Library has special collections and units in the following areas.
A card of admission is required to access these collections at the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building
Registration is required for consultation of materials in these collections at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture
The George Arents Collection on Tobacco is a comprehensive collection on the history, literature, and lore of tobacco. The Arents Collection of Books in Parts is one of the most important collections assembled of serialized publications that remain in their original paper wrappers.
Format: Prints, Photographs, Ephemera, Books
Fine arts, art history, decorative arts, architectural history, design, and theory.
Subject: Art History, Fine Arts, Decorative Arts, Architectural History, Design, Design History, Theory
Format: Monographs, Serials, Exhibition Catalogs, Auction Catalogs, Databases, Ephemera
First editions, rare books, autograph letters, and manuscripts.
Subject: English and American Literature
Format: Manuscripts, Printed Materials, Photographs
Holdings illuminate every type of performance, from street corner to stage to studio.
Format: Video, Film, Ephemera
Circulating materials for children of all ages, and for adults with an interest in children’s literature, music, and media.
Subject: Children's Books, DVDs, CDs
Format: Books, DVDs, CDs
The Picture Collection contains a million pictures, arranged by subject, available for circulation and reference.
Subject: Circulating Picture Collection
Format: Prints, Photographs
Location: Mid-Manhattan Library, 3rd floor
11,000 periodical titles in 22 languages from 128 countries.
Subject: Literature, Philosophy, Religion, Anthropology, Sociology, World History, Biographies, General Studies
Format: Periodicals, Newspapers
One of the great collections of Judaica in the world.
Format: Manuscripts, Periodicals, Books
Reference assistance with materials on the humanities, social sciences, and general subjects.
Subject: Literature, Philosophy, Religion, Anthropology, Sociology, World History, Biographies, Slavic and East European Collections.
Format: Books, Periodicals, Manuscripts, Ephemera
Materials documenting United States History on the national, state and local level, Genealogy, Heraldry, Personal and Family Names, and Flags.
Subject: History, Genealogy, New York City History
Format: Genealogy Resources, Census Records, Rare Books, Manuscripts, Photographs, Archival Materials, Books, Periodicals
Subject: Multidisciplinary focus on peoples of African descent throughout the world.
Format: Books, periodicals, newspapers in paper and microform; archival material in microform; maps; computer files
Over 23,000 moving images chronicling dance, from the earliest Edison reels to the latest television broadcasts; from ethnic dances to ballets by Balanchine; from Broadway musicals to Pilates.
Format: Film, Video, Digital Streaming Video
Chronicles the art of dance in all its manifestations — ballet, ethnic, modern, social, and folk.
Format: Books, Films, Video, Audio, Clippings, Iconography, Manuscripts, Memorabilia
433,000 maps, 20,000 atlases and books about cartography.
Subject: Maps, Geography
Format: Maps, Atlases, Books, Periodicals
29,000 linear feet of archival material in over 3,000 collections.
Subject: Political, economic, social and cultural history.
Format: Manuscripts, Volumes, Printed Material, Photographs, Ephemera.
350,000 microfilm reels and 3,000,000 microfiche.
Subject: International, Regional and Local Newspapers, Literature, Philosophy, Religion, Anthropology, Sociology, World History, Biographies, General Studies
Format: Microfilm and Microfiche
Chronicles the art of music in all its diversity — opera, spirituals, ragtime, jazz, musical comedy, orchestral, rock, and pop music.
Format: Printed Books, Scores and Periodicals, Clippings, Programs, Archives, Sheet Music, Electronic Resources
Coverage encompasses the fields of dance, drama, film and video, television, radio, music, recorded sound, and arts administration.
Subject: Theater, Performing Arts
Format: Sheet Music, Periodicals, Books, DVD's Film
One of the world's leading repositories for the study of English Romanticism.
Subject: English Literature
Format: Printed Materials, Manuscripts
500,000 original photographic prints, from the medium's 150+ year history.
The Print Collection of The New York Public Library encompasses over 200,000 prints along with a specialized reference collection of over 15,000 volumes on the history of prints and printmakers.
Format: Prints, Reference Materials
The Rare Book Division houses approximately 200,000 titles, covering five centuries of printing - from the 1450s to the present - and representing Continental Europe, England, and the Americas.
Subject: Rare Books
Format: Books and Manuscripts
Over 500,000 sound recordings in every format: cylinder, 78rpm, LP, reel-to-reel tape, cassette, CD, laser disc.
Subject: Recorded Music, Literature and Speech
Format: Recordings, Moving Images, Printed Materials
Fine and applied art and material culture objects
Subject: African Heritage
Format: Traditional African art; painting and sculpture; works on paper (ie., drawings, prints, illustrations, posters and reproductions); and textiles and artifacts.
Rare, unique, and primary materials that document the history and culture of peoples of African descent.
Subject: History of blacks in the United States, Caribbean and Africa; slavery, biography; performing arts, literature, religion
Format: Personal and family papers, organizational records, literary manuscripts, playscripts, rare books, sheet music, broadsides, programs and playbills.
Collection of African American, Caribbean, and African popular and traditional music genres.
Subject: African American, Caribbean and African popular and traditional music genres; public affairs broadcasts; documentary and feature films covering Africa and the diaspora, and early jazz and tap dance film footage.
Format: Motion picture film, video recordings, digital media files, and music and spoken arts recordings in several formats.
500,000 images depicting the history and culture of peoples of African descent worldwide; a representative body of work by photographers of African descent
Subject: Portraiture, photojournalism, fine art photographic expressions and 18th and 19th century prints
Format: Photographs and prints
Business, Science, Patents & Trademarks, Government Documents, United Nations, European Union, International Monetary Fund documents.
Subject: Science, Business, Technology
Format: Print Materials, E-Resources
Location: Science, Industry and Business Library
The Spencer Collection surveys the illustrated word and book bindings of all periods and all countries and cultures, from medieval manuscripts, Japanese scrolls, and Indian miniatures to monuments in Renaissance printing, illustration and binding to contemporary livres d'artistes.
Subject: Medieval Manuscripts, Renaissance Printing and Illustration, Japanese Scrolls
Format: Manuscripts, Prints, Works on Paper
Documentation effort, recording Broadway, Off-Broadway, and regional theatre productions, and dialogues between notable theatre personalities.
Format: Film, Tape
Public Space, Above and Below (Audio)
Carol St. Pierre (Audio)
Wole Soyinka (Video)
Harold Bloom (Video)
A.B. Yehoshua (Video)
Mark Salzman (Video)
Backstage with COLM TOIBIN (Video)
Backstage with Karen Armstrong (Video)
Derek Walcott (Video)
Zadie Smith (Video)
Siddhartha Mukherjee (Video)
Backstage with Edwidge Danticat (Video)
Backstage with SLAVOJ ZIZEK (Video)
Jay-Z: Decoded (Video)
KEITH RICHARDS: Life (Video)
JOHN WATERS: Role Models (Video)
A Tribute to GEORGE CARLIN (Video)
FERRAN ADRIA: A Day at el Bulli (Video)