Get Started with Your Research

Quick Links

Before You Arrive

  • Apply for a Library Card
  • Search the Collections
  • Consult with Library Staff
  • Request Research Materials
  • Explore Our Subject Guides
  • Accessibility

During Your Visit

  • Checkrooms & Lockers
  • Computers
  • Wi-Fi
  • Copying & Printing
  • Review Our Regulations

NYPL's Research Centers

  • Stephen A. Schwarzman Building
  • The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts
  • Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture
  • Thomas Yoseloff Business Center at the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Library (SNFL)


Before You Arrive


Apply for a Library Card

If you aren't already a cardholder, apply online today for a New York Public Library card. Visitors from outside New York can obtain a Visiting Researcher library card that offers three months of access to our collections. When you apply for a card online, you will receive a seven-digit temporary barcode. This allows you to set a PIN, place lending items on hold, or submit requests for research items from offsite storage. You’ll need to show a photo ID and proof of your address to complete your library card registration on arrival at NYPL locations and before you can consult research materials.


Search the Collections

Use NYPL’s Research Catalog to discover materials and request free scans of millions of items from the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building, the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, and The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts. Plus, discover additional materials from library collections at Columbia University, Harvard University, and Princeton University. Search the Prints and Photographs Online Catalog for materials in the Wallach Division of Arts, Prints and Photographs. (Please note that the Research Catalog does not include circulating materials—for books and more that you can check out to take home, please visit our circulating branch catalog.)


Consult with Library Staff

Our librarians and curators are here to help you find and access the materials you need for your research. Contact individual divisions and collections if you have questions prior to your visit or would like to schedule a research consultation with a librarian. Don’t know where to start? Call, text, email, or chat with the Ask NYPL service with general questions.

Please note that while some divisions welcome researchers without appointments, space is limited and not all resources are quickly accessible—or stored onsite—so many reading rooms require an appointment for you to access materials. You must have a library card both to request an onsite appointment and access materials in person.

Learn more about our research libraries, divisions, and collections:

Stephen A. Schwarzman Building

Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture

The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman Center

Thomas Yoseloff Business Center at the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Library (SNFL)


Request Materials

We encourage all researchers to request materials in advance of their visit because delivery times vary widely and not all resources are quickly accessible—or stored onsite.

Approximately 90% of research requests are delivered on the day they are requested. Materials stored offsite will be delivered on the following business day provided the request is made before 2:30 PM on a business day; items requested after 2:30 PM will be delivered on the second business day. Items requested after 2:30 PM on Fridays or over the weekend will be delivered the following Tuesday.

Researchers are invited to place requests up to a week in advance of their visit, as items will be held for seven days once the request is filled.


Explore Our Subject Guides

Our expert staff have developed research guides that will point you to the best resources. Find primary and scholarly sources in our online databases, including specialized lists, indexes, bibliographies, and more. Get started with LibGuides.



If you are an individual with a disability and need assistance, we are here to help! The Library takes an active approach to providing access to our resources and services. Learn more about Access for Researchers with Disabilities.



During Your Visit


Checkrooms & Lockers

Supervised, no-fee checkrooms or lockers are provided at each research center. To protect our collections and improve the study environment for all, special collection reading rooms require you to check coats and bags. Visit the Checkroom Services page for additional details.



There are computers available for use at all our research centers. Personal laptops and tablets are also allowed in reading rooms.



All Library locations offer free wireless access (Wi-Fi) in public areas at all times the libraries are open. Using your computer's network utilities, look for the wireless network named "NYPL," no password required. Learn more about connecting to our free Wi-Fi.


Copying & Printing

To preserve the physical condition of research collection materials, Library staff must evaluate whether an item’s condition will allow for copying or scanning. Some material may only be copied or scanned by Library staff and some may not be copied or scanned. Go to the Copying, Printing, and Scanning Services page for more information. See the Copying, Printing, and Scanning Prices page for self-service and staff-assisted pricing.


Review Our Regulations

Please familiarize yourself with the General Regulations of the research centers before your visit. All visitors are expected to comply with them.



NYPL’s Research Centers

Check out directions, opening hours, and what you can do and see at our four world-class research centers in New York City:

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