A Guide to Onsite Service at the Research Libraries

Teal rectangle with white text that reads: Onsite Research

As part of the Library’s phased reopening, our research centers have restored onsite access to their collections. In addition, service has been expanded at select locations to permit walk-in patrons who want to sit in public reading rooms, including the Rose Main Reading Room at the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building, for quiet study, thought, and computer use.

Some research divisions require an appointment to view their collections. You may also need to email or book a virtual consultation with a Library staff member before your research visit.

All remote services, such as Scan & Deliver, will continue to be available. Learn more.

Please note that masks are encouraged in all New York Public Library locations.

Get Started

Some of The New York Public Library’s reading rooms and collections are only available to access by appointment. In some cases, you may need to consult with our librarians before visiting. Learn more about how to access our collections and services at each of our research centers:

If you are not sure which location is right for your research, please contact Ask NYPL for assistance.



What to Expect When You Arrive

In order to keep our patrons and our staff healthy and safe:

  • Everyone entering the Library is encouraged to wear a mask See below for more on our health and safety policies, including personal protective equipment.
  • While walk-in service is available in reading rooms at select locations, seating may be limited.
  • To protect our collections, many reading rooms require you to check any coats or bags you have with you.




Frequently Asked Questions: What You Need to Know Before Your Visit 


Do I need a library card to make an appointment? Can I sign up for a library card?

  • A library card is required to request an onsite appointment.
  • New Yorkers may apply for and receive a library card online. Researchers residing outside New York State will be prompted to sign up for a Visiting Researcher library card during their appointment process.
  • If you applied for a library card online, you will be required to present the required forms of identification in order to validate it for onsite use.

Can I use library computers inside the research libraries?

  • Yes. Personal laptops and tablets are also allowed in reading rooms.

Can I use the restrooms during my visit?

  • Yes.



Can I visit without making an appointment?

What can I bring onsite?

  • You may bring small bags and coats with you to the Library. However, you will be required to check coats and most items before accessing research materials, either in a designated coat check, lockers, or on tables near where you will conduct your research.
  • Special collection reading rooms have additional restrictions.



Do I need to wear a face mask?

  • Patrons coming onsite are encouraged to wear face coverings at all times while in the Library.

Under what circumstances should I avoid visiting the Library?

Will NYPL be screening patrons for symptoms before entry?

  • No.

Are cleaning supplies available during my visit?

  • Hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes are available to patrons in our reading rooms.
  • Outside cleaning supplies may NOT be used as they may damage collection materials.