The Seward Park branch of The New York Public Library on Manhattan’s Lower East Side can trace its roots back to 1886, when the Aguilar Free Library Society founded it.
The branch, which opened its doors at its current location on November 11, 1909, is located at the eastern edge of the park for which it is named. The four-story, red brick Renaissance Revival building was one of 65 NYPL branches built with funds from Andrew Carnegie, and it boasts high ceilings and arched windows designed by the firm Babb, Cook & Welch. The building underwent an extensive renovation in 2004 to restore its exterior and interior, install central air-conditioning, computers with high-speed Internet, ramps and an elevator, among other improvements. In 2015, the main level got a makeover with new floors, furniture and paint. In its early days, the Seward Park Branch served an immigrant Jewish population. Today, the community is home to a mixture of Jews, Hispanics, African-Americans, and a growing Asian population.
The building houses adult, reference, and young adult collections on the third floor; a children’s room on the second floor; adult, media, and world language collections on the first floor; and a literacy center on the lower level.