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Secrets of Mid-Manhattan: in and out in no time


New Yorkers know that waiting in line is a fact of life. But there are ways that you can make your visits to the library faster and smoother.

Entering the building. First of all, open your bag as soon as you walk through one of the three doors on 5th Avenue.  All bags must be checked by the security guard. Bags, suitcases and cellos larger than a airplane carry-on are not allowed into the library. Click here to see our bag check policy.

Asking questions. The Courtesy Desk at the entrance can give you basic information and directions for the building. If you have questions about books or materials, however, you must go to one of the Information/Reference Desks. You can save time by going directly to the Information desk for your specific subject. Questions about your account, due dates and renewals should be directed to the Circulation Desk on the 1st floor. Questions about your library card, PIN number and address changes can be asked at the Registration Desk on the 1st floor. Student employees can only direct you to Dewey decimal areas. Go to the Information Desk to inquire about the availability of books.

Finding your book on the shelf. Each floor is laid out into various collections. Read this blog post to find out more about Dewey decimal numbers and how our books are arranged.

Checking out. You can check out books and other materials at the Circulation Desk on the 1st floor or on the 3rd floor in the Picture Collection.  There are also 3 self check-out machines for books (no videos or CDs) on the 1st floor, and one in the Reserves Room next to the 1st floor Info Desk.

Leaving. Have your items that you have checked out ready to inspect as you leave the building.  Each library item must be accompanied by a receipt.  The circulation desk can offer a new one if you’ve lost yours.  Also open your bag so that it can be inspected upon leaving.  We don’t like looking in your bags, but hey, it’s New York.


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