General Research Division, Third Floor, Room 315
The Rose Main Reading Room and the Bill Blass Public Catalog Room in the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building will be temporarily closed. More information is available on the updates page.
General Research Division (GRD) onsite materials are still available for use in the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building. We encourage you to submit requests in advance of your visit via our online form.
Otherwise, you may request GRD materials in Room 217 or in any of the Schwarzman Building’s other reading rooms.
For offsite requests, please consult our Classic Catalog and submit your request for any item by clicking the gray Request From Off-Site Storage button in the catalog record. Materials will be available for pickup in Room 217.
The Deborah, Jonathan F. P., Samuel Priest, and Adam R. Rose Main Reading Room is a majestic public space, measuring 78 feet by 297 feet—roughly the length of two city blocks—and weaving together Old World architectural elegance with modern technology. The award-wining restoration of this room was completed in 1998, thanks to a fifteen million-dollar gift from Library trustee Sandra Priest Rose and Frederick Phineas Rose, who renamed the room in honor of their children.
Here, patrons can read or study at long oak tables lit by elegant bronze lamps, beneath fifty-two foot tall ceilings decorated by dramatic murals of vibrant skies and billowing clouds. Since the General Research Division’s opening day on May 23, 1911, vast numbers of people have entered the main reading room. Literary figures such as Norman Mailer, Isaac Bashevis Singer, Elizabeth Bishop, E. L. Doctorow, and Alfred Kazin have cited the division as a major resource for their work. In one of his memoirs, New York Jew, Kazin described his youthful impression of the reading room: “There was something about the . . . light falling through the great tall windows, the sun burning smooth the tops of the golden tables as if they had been freshly painted—that made me restless with the need to grab up every book, press into every single mind right there on the open shelves.”
In the South Hall of the Rose Main Reading Room, patrons can receive assistance from our experienced Reference Librarians and may use our self-service computers to search our Catalog or conduct research through our electronic resources. Books requests are submitted here in South Hall from the Library's collection housed underneath Bryant Park or its offsite storage facilities. In the North Hall, patrons can receive their materials and use our staff-mediated Copy Services. The North Hall is also a designated quiet zone free of photography and distraction.
Throughout the whole of the reading room, patrons with their own laptops can connect for free to the Internet through the Library’s Wi-Fi. Readers can consult the open-shelf reference collection, which includes standard works in all fields collected by the Library, as well as general resources such as dictionaries, encyclopedias, biographies, and indexes. This collection alone encompasses over forty thousand volumes and is more comprehensive than the holdings of the reference collections of many smaller libraries.