New York Public Library's Top 10 Best Kept Online Secrets

By Rhonda Evans, Assistant Chief Librarian
April 10, 2018

This week we are celebrating National Library Week! During this week take the opportunity to learn and celebrate all that libraries have to offer. The New York Public Library wants to make sure that you know about all of the great resources you can access simply by using your library card. If you have a New York Public Library card then you already know that with NYPL's electronic resources you have free access to the world's top magazines and newspapers, or even watch free theater performances. NYPL provides access to over 500 electronic resources and we want to share some of our best kept secrets.

1. U.S. Declassified Documents Online

UFO Sighting

Reported UFO Sighting "strange objects in the sky" over Tehran were observed on Sept. 19, 1976. U.S. Declassified Documents Online. Accessed 9 Apr. 2018.

Do you wonder what really happened at Roswell, New Mexico in 1947? Are you curious to read the FBI file on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.? Then you want to explore the U.S. Declassified Documents Online database. In this database you will have access to more than 700,000 pages of selected previously classified government documents, this includes everything from UFOs to FBI files on the Black Panther Party. The archive includes declassified documents from agencies and organizations such as the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), the White House, United Nations, and the Atomic Energy Commission. 

2. American Film Scripts Online

Mean Streets

Sample Pages from Martin Scorsese's Mean Streets (1973). American Film Scripts Online database.  Accessed 9 Apr. 2018.

If you are a budding screenwriter, film director, or you just love movies then you will want to spend some time with the American Film Scripts Online database. This online archive includes over 800 screenplays. You will also find a bibliographic and biographical database of directors and writers, as well as special features, such as the ability to search by character, scene, race, and year of writing. 

3. LearningExpress Library

From LearningExpress Library Database

Are you a high school student studying for the ACT or SAT? Have you decided to take on the GED or need help preparing for the TOEFL? Then take advantage of the LearningExpress Library database! This database provides test preparation materials and interactive practice exams for academic, civil service, military, and professional licensing and certification exams. There are also online courses to help you build core skills, such as reading, math, and grammar.

4. Berg Fashion Library

From Berg Fashion Library Database.

New York is the fashion capital of the world, and if you are a student or lover of fashion then the Berg Fashion Library is for you! In this database you will find comprehensive coverage of world fashion, including  journal articles, ebooks, and images. For students and teachers, the database also provides access to lesson plans, biographies, and reading lists.

5. NYPL Digital Collections

New York street

New York Street, NYPL Digital Collections. Image ID: 5912738

Whether you are a photographer or simply appreciate the power of the image you will want to visit the NYPL Digital Collections and access thousands of photographs and other digitized materials, including books and pamphlets.

6. American History 

"British Burn Washington, D.C., during War of 1812." American History, ABC-CLIO, 2018. Accessed 9 Apr. 2018.

The name says it all. In this database that covers American history from 1350 to the present, you will find images and photographs, biographies, reference articles, and interactive timelines.

7. Columbia Gazetteer of the World

New York State Flag

New York State Flag

Travelers and lovers of geography will enjoy the Columbia Gazetteer of the World database. Columbia Gazetteer is a world encyclopedia of geography, with over 170,000 entries. Are you curious about the details of the Baikonur Cosmodrome (Russian Space-launch complex), you can find everything you want to know in Columbia Gazetteer.  This database includes information about locations all over the world—from communes to countries—including flags, economy, and transportation.

8. Mango Languages

With your New York Public Library card you can download the Mango Languages app and start learning a new language! Choose from over 71 different languages, including specialty courses, such as Spanish for Business and Learning German for Oktoberfest.

9. Sanborn Maps - Geocoded Edition

Sanborn Maps

Lionel Pincus and Princess Firyal Map Division, The New York Public Library. "Insurance maps of the City of New York. Surveyed and published by Sanborn-Perris Map Co., Limited, 115 Broadway, 1896. Volume 8." The New York Public Library Digital Collections

Did you know that the New York Public Library’s Stephen A. Schwarzman building used to be a reservoir? Or did you know that Madison Square Garden was actually on Madison avenue? Go back in time with Sanborn Maps Geocoded edition and see what New York used to look like by accessing thousands of New York State maps, searchable by address and GPS coordinates. 

10. Early English Books Online

Early English Books Online Database.

The older the book the harder it is to come by, but don't worry, with your New York Public Library card you can read every book in the English language printed abroad from 1475 to 1700. For example, read Queen Elizabeth I’s 1601 work, Her Maiesties most princelie answere, deliuered by her selfe at the court at VVhite-hall, on the last day of Nouember 1601 When the speaker of the lower house of parliament (assisted with the greatest part of the knights, and burgesses) had presented their humble thanks for her free and gracious sauour, in preuenting and reforming of sundry grieuances, by abuse of many grants, commonly called monopolies. The same being taken verbatim in writing by A.B. as neere as he could possibly set it downe.

With more than 500 online research options available, many accessible from home with a library card, we challenge you to go beyond the search engine and dig deeper online with NYPL.