New York Society Library

Upper East Side, Manhattan

Wood door
Credit: Beth Perkins

How can I get tickets? Entry to this location is free, but requires tickets distributed via lottery. Enter the lottery anytime between 12:00pm on Thursday, October 13 and 12:00pm on Friday, October 14.

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Note: There are 110+ Open Access locations that do not require tickets. Happy exploring!

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The New York Society Library, founded in 1754, is the city's oldest library and a thriving community of readers, writers, and families. The Library is open to the public for reading, reference, exhibitions, and many events, with membership providing book circulation and use of reading/study spaces. Our landmark home on 79th Street and Madison Avenue was built as an Italianate townhouse around 1918 and has housed the Library since 1937. Many of the building's spaces retain the architectural charm of the original townhouse and display our eclectic art holdings as well as our 300,000-volume print book collection and our current exhibition, FABULOUS FASHION.

On OHNY Weekend, tour participants will explore some behind-the-scenes areas of the library not generally accessible to the public.

The Library itself is wheelchair-accessible for regular use, but this tour will go into some behind-the-scenes spaces that involve a very few ascending stairs, some descending stairs, and some narrow entrances.

The pace is slow and easy and the building is quiet. There are some opportunities to sit down briefly during the tour.

The Library itself is also kid-friendly, but this tour is aimed at adults (although not inappropriate for children).

This experience is offered during OHNY Weekend as a part of Radical Knowledge: Libraries as Community Catalysts, a series examining how libraries serve as both vibrant learning institutions and centers for their communities, providing physical and virtual spaces to enrich civic life, expand economic opportunity, and improve the quality of place and quality of life for New Yorkers.

Radical Knowledge is produced in partnership with Brooklyn Public Library, New York Public Library, and Queens Public Library.

1918; 1937; 2010; 2013