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Collection Description for the General Research Division

The New York Public Library’s General Research Division provides access to over 7 million items — including books, newspapers, journals, microforms, and electronic resources — that support broad and in-depth research in the humanities. The materials can only be used onsite and are requested from the closed stacks to be used in the Deborah, Jonathan F. P., Samuel Priest, and Adam R. Rose Main Reading Room. The collection focuses on literature and history, with very strong coverage of humanities subjects such as women’s studies, gay and lesbian studies, classics, philosophy and religion.  The Division also collects intensively in popular culture with specialties in culinary history, popular entertainments, and genre literature, such as mysteries and comics.

Geographically, the collection’s major strength is Americana, including Latin American and Native American materials. The collection also has strengths in Slavic materials—Russian, Polish, Czech—and Asian and Middle Eastern materials—Chinese, Arabic, Japanese, and Indian. The Division actively collects materials in the following languages: English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish, Latin, ancient Greek, Russian, Polish, Czech, Ukrainian, Belarusian, Chinese, Japanese, Arabic, and Hindi. This is in addition to historical strengths in central European, Baltic, Scandinavian, central Asian, and south Indian languages.