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Countee Cullen Library

We are home to the James Weldon Johnson Reference Collection for children, located in the Children’s Room on the second floor; books on the African-American experience; a reference collection, including college catalogs and financial aid information; and the African-American/Black Culture reference collection. Contact us!

The Countee Cullen Branch gives Harlem residents of all ages access to library services delivered in a friendly and effective manner, which will:

  • enable them to find, evaluate and use information effectively
  • provide the materials, programs and services needed to meet their informational and recreational needs
  • provide information related to services offered by community agencies and organizations
  • enable them to explore the rich Harlem culture and history

The Countee Cullen Branch opened on January 14, 1905, as the 135th Street Branch, in a building designed by McKim, Mead and White with funds given by Andrew Carnegie. (The original building is now part of The New York Public Library's Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture.) In 1941, having outgrown its quarters, the library moved to a new building at its present location designed by Louis Allen Abramson. Ten years later the library was renamed for poet and teacher Countee Cullen (1903-1946), an important figure of the Harlem Renaissance and the library's friend and neighbor. The library occupies the former site of the mansion of A'lelia Walker, daughter of the beauty products tycoon whose home became a gathering place for artists and writers during the Harlem Renaissance in the 1920s. The library was renovated in 1990 and is wheelchair accessible.

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