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Requesting Research Library Materials


How to Request General Research Library Materials

Due to inclement weather, delivery of material from offsite storage may be delayed. Please check your patron account to be sure items are Ready for Pickup in advance of your visit.

Request general research materials in advance to make the most of your time on site.

For special collection items, contact the specific collection for access information. For assistance, please contact Ask NYPL.

  1. Search for materials in the library classic catalog.
  2. For items with a “Request From Off-Site Storage” button under “Location” in the catalog, click the button to request the item.
  3. If the item does not have a Request From Off-Site Storage button in the catalog, use one of the request forms below.
Stephen A. Schwarzman Building Request Form
Library for the Performing Arts 212-870-1844
Request Form
Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture 212-491-2218
Request Form
Science, Industry and Business Library 212-592-7018
Request Form

Electronic delivery of select offsite materials

Up to 50 pages of select offsite materials can be scanned and delivered to your inbox. Request a table of contents, single article, book chapter, or index. The document will be scanned and either emailed as an attachment or posted online within 48 hours. If the file is posted online, you will receive an email message with the URL and a Personal Identification Number (PIN) to access the file.

Please note:

  • Each article file can be retrieved a maximum of five (5) times.
  • Once a file is retrieved, it remains available to the user for five (5) days.
  • Files not retrieved remain available for 30 days following the original request date. 

Manuscripts and archives, audiovisual materials and prints and photographs are not available for electronic delivery.

The Library’s premium service department offers scanned copies of material held on-site at NYPL research libraries, for those unable to visit our research libraries in person. Please see the fee schedule for the associated costs.

Requesting Multiple Items

To request multiple books from the general collections at one time, including items that have the “Request From Off-site Storage” button in the catalog, list them in the “Material's Author, Title, Call Number and catalog record link” box using the request forms above.

You may request up to 15 items per day. Many items can be delivered to reading rooms at any NYPL research center, though some materials are restricted to specific locations.

Delivery times

Approximately 90% of research requests are delivered on the day they are requested. If you request a book when you are at the library and the catalog record indicates that it is stored on-site, the average delivery time is 45 minutes. For offsite materials, requests made before 2:30 PM will be delivered the following business day. Requests made after 2:30 PM on Fridays or over the weekend will be delivered the following Tuesday. We will hold books for up to seven days, so you can request materials up to a week in advance.

Notification of delivery

If using the button in the catalog, you will receive a notification when your item is ready for use, provided you listed an email address in your NYPL account. If you use the advanced request form, you will receive a notification that your item is ready if you enter an email address on the form itself.

Requested items are held for use for one week. Each time you come in to access a book, it can be held on reserve for your use for another week.


If the item you’d like to request is unavailable and has a due date, please use the request forms listed above and ask to recall the item.

Cancel Request

If you would like to cancel a request for an item, please use the request forms listed above and ask to cancel the request.

Can’t Find What You’re Looking For?

If you can’t find the item in the library’s catalog, NYPL provides an Interlibrary Loan service (ILL) for materials held at libraries outside the NYPL system. In addition to Interlibrary Loan, METRO referral cards provide courtesy access to many academic, school, public, and special libraries throughout New York City and Westchester County. If you aren’t sure where to start or which service will be best for you, please come by our general reference desk, email a librarian or set up an appointment for a reference interview.

Special Collections Requests

To access material held in the Library’s special collections, please contact each collection directly:

Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture

Art and Artifacts Division: 212-491-2241,
Research and Reference Division: 212-491-2218,
Manuscripts, Archives and Rare Books Division: 212-491-2224,
Moving Image and Recorded Sound Division: 212-491-2236,
Photographs and Prints Division: 212-491-2057,

The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts

Billy Rose Theatre Division: 212-870-1639,
Jerome Robbins Dance Division: 212-870-1657,
Music Division: 212-870-1650,
Rodgers & Hammerstein Archives of Recorded Sound: 212-870-1663,
Theatre on Film and Tape (TOFT): 212-870-1642,

Stephen A. Schwarzman Building

Arents Collection: 212-642-0110,
Berg Collection of English and American Literature: 212-930-0802,
Manuscripts and Archives Division: 212-930-0801,
Pforzheimer Collection of Shelley and His Circle: 212-930-0717,
Photography Collection: 212-930-0837,
Print Collection: 212-930-0817,
Rare Books Division: 212-642-0110,
Spencer Collection: 212-930-0817,