The NYPL Has More To Offer Than You Think

5 mins read

The New York Public Library (NYPL) is a city institution tasked with giving equal access to knowledge and opportunity to the diverse population they serve. The library transcends its conventional image by housing a myriad of hidden treasures and services — a large majority of them free.

As the author and library trustee Toni Morrison said, “access to knowledge is the supreme act of truly great civilizations. Out of all the institutions that purport to do this, free libraries stand virtually alone in accomplishing this mission.” And the NYPL is at the forefront of this mission, providing hundreds of thousands of free programs annually that cater to a wide variety of interests.

One of those programs is happening live at NYPL, a cultural series. Some of their events for this upcoming month of December include, “Lesbian Poetic Traditions and the Library After Hours: Uncensored.” The After Hours event will feature readings of banned books, rare 16 mm films on the history of censorship, and a one-night-only collections display of once-banned materials that will serve as a love letter to great works of literature.

Anyone can find an event that suits themselves, thanks to their enormous variety of events, programs, book clubs, and more. The Library for the Performing Arts will feature a Conversation with André De Shields, one of Broadway’s most brilliant actors. It will have an exhibition: a Border Crossing Gallery Tour to discover how the crossing of borders contributed to the creation of a new American art form of modern dance.

In this day and age, the omnipresent ability of technology cannot be understood, and thus, the NYPL has become a trailblazer in technology and innovation — offering things such as free computer access, Wi-Fi, and a wide range of classes that ensures all with the opportunity to succeed in the digital age.

The TechConnect program allows patrons to discover a wide array of technology classes including basic computing, coding, photo editing, audio production, and more. Computer basics help patrons understand how to use a computer and navigate different programs and tasks. For the more advanced users, there are various classes on photo editing, video producing, coding, music producing, and creating your own website. It also helps people with job readiness by offering guidance with their resume and LinkedIn profile.

Although the library has their own app to allow users to borrow ebooks called ‘SimplyE’, its interface is a bit clunky. Therefore, I recommend the ‘Libby’ app, which allows anyone with a library card (it also helps people acquire one) to conveniently borrow books in a very user-friendly interface.

Its architecture is a marvel in of itself, as it happens to be steeped in history and culture. The NYPL includes some of New York’s most iconic buildings, like the grand Stephen A. Schwarzman Building in Bryant Park. This building was dedicated by President William Howard Taft in 1911 and took 16 years to be designed and built, becoming “the largest marble building ever built in the U.S. at the time it opened,” according to the New York Public Library.

Each neighborhood branch has its own unique architecture with notable pieces including the Morgan Library & Museum, Murray Hill and Jefferson Market Library, Greenwich Village.

As one can tell, the library is not an institution of the past, but is dynamic and provides a welcoming space for everyone regardless of their age, background, or expertise.

Being one of the few spaces where one can be out of their house without paying any money and democratizing education, the NYPL remains a beacon of enlightenment. However, it has not been mentioned how it is a space where its community continues to love.

When you visit one of its magnificent locations, remember that you’re not merely a visitor, but you’re weaving into a historic tapestry. As you walk through The New York Public Library, be aware that within its walls you will discover that it has much more to offer than you think.

1 Comment

  1. Excellent article; many thanks! I would point out that Morgan Library might not be part of the NYPL system. I was, however, there recently and would say it’s a must visit.

    All best.

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