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The New York Public Library, also called the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building or the Main Branch, is both one of the places to visit in New York, as well as being considered an historic landmark as of 1965. It is located on 5th Avenue in Manhattan section of New York and it was first opened in 1911. The library’s building has often been shown in movies and TV shows, as well as being mentioned in artistic or literary works.

The New York Public Library boasts an incredible 53 million items, which means it is the second largest library in the U.S., with the Library of Congress being the largest in the U.S.  As of 2010, the New York Public Library system included 87 libraries, which consisted of four research libraries, four major lending libraries, a library created for the blind and physically challenged, as well as 77 neighborhood branch libraries in three NY boroughs.

How Did the New York Public Library Come Into Being?

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The New York Public Library was created by consolidating selected public libraries in the New York Public Library system, and also added into this pooling a donation given via a bequest by and a donation from Carnegie. It was designed by Dr. John Shaw Billings, the very first New York Public Library director.

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The building is unique due to its construction, which originally cost $9 million and took several years to complete. It has three foot thick marble walls, with 20,000 stone blocks making up its exterior. It takes up more than 390 feet of room on 5th Avenue and was renovated in 2007.  Its majestic entrance is one of the things to see in New York with its pair of stone lions that appear to be guarding the entrance. They were originally named Leo Astor and Leo Lenox after the founders of the library and were made by Edward Clark Potter. Their names were later changed to Lord Astor and Lady Lenox, though both are boy lions.

New York Public Library Website Adds Capabilities

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The New York Public Library now has joined the modern age and has its own website. The website gives readers access to their library catalogs to look up information, as well as to their online offerings, plus it lists events, exhibits and other information about the library itself. Readers also have access to thousands of titles of magazines, papers, various scientific journals, reference books, and many more options.

Online access also allows readers to request books from other library branches that they can then check out with their free library card. If you want to know where to go in New York to see the library system, the website also gives you that information, as well as listing the operating hours.

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The website for the New York Public Library also has a database of digital images with more than 700,000 to choose from out of library products listed in the database. Due to this rich research database, the library earned a title of Best Research Site of 2006 from a panel of international museum experts.

All in all, the New York Public Library is a famous institution due to many reasons, including its creation, size, collection of arts and literary items, and due to its rich history.