New York Public Library Visitors Guide

This Beaux-Arts Landmark has free tours and a Gutenberg Bible!

Astor Hall at NYPL
••• Astor Hall at NYPL.

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 Lenox 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 building opened, it was the largest marble building in the United States, and was home to over 1 million books when it opened.

New York Public Library Highlights:

  • Astor Hall
  • Gutenberg Bible
  • Rose Reading Room
  • McGraw Rotunda

New York Public Library Tours:

All tours leave from the Library's first floor.

  • Building Tours: Free one hour walking tours Tuesday through Saturday at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m., and 2 p.m. on Sunday (library is closed on Sundays in the summer) highlighting the history and architecture of the New York Public Library. These tours are a great way to get an overview of the beauty and expanse of the Library's collections.
  • Exhibition Tours: Free tours of the Library's Current Exhibitions and other events take place regularly at the library

More 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 Lenox Libraries, that 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.

Read more about the history of the New York Public Library.

Visitors today can conduct research at the Library, take a tour of the Library, attend numerous events, and even wander through the Library to view its many treasures and artworks including the Gutenberg Bible, murals and paintings, and the Library's beautiful architecture.

New York Public Library Basics: