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Deborah, Jonathan F. P., Samuel Priest, and Adam R. Rose Main Reading Room


General Research Division, Third Floor, Room 315

One of New York City’s most iconic locations, the majestic Rose Main Reading Room measures 78 feet by 297 feet—roughly the length of two city blocks—with 52-foot-tall ceilings displaying murals of vibrant skies and billowing clouds. This breathtaking Beaux-Arts space weaves Old World architectural elegance with modern technology. Here, patrons can request material from the Milstein Stacks, the Library’s environmentally optimal storage facility located underneath Bryant Park with a capacity of over 4 million items. Visitors can also browse and read the thousands of reference volumes lining the shelves.

For more than 100 years, the reading room has supported many internationally renowned writers, journalists, historians, Nobel Laureates, and Pulitzer Prize winners, as well as inventors, activists, and students in gathering information, advancing knowledge, honing their craft, deepening their understanding of the human experience, and advancing knowledge.

In 1998, the Library completed a major restoration of the Reading Room thanks to a gift from Library Trustee Sandra Priest Rose and her husband Frederick Phineas Rose, who renamed the room in honor of their children.

In the fall of 2016, the Library concluded additional work to restore the Rose Main Reading Room’s ornate ceiling and the Bill Blass Public Catalog Room’s mural. The Library is committed to preserving these historic destinations so that they remain accessible and inspirational to all for generations to come.