Monday, February 2, 2009

NYPL Main Reading Room

New York Public Library Reading Room
The Main Reading Room, in the rear, extends nearly the entire length of the building. It has a floor area of half an acre, and is divided in the middle by a booth from which books are delivered. There are seats for 768 readers. Mr. A. C. David, in the article previously quoted from the Architectural Record, says:

"The Main Reading Room is one of the most spacious rooms in the world—beautifully proportioned, lighted by a series of windows on both the long sides of the room, and entirely accessible to the stacks. To have obtained a room of these dimensions, so excellently adapted to its purpose in every respect, was a great triumph for the architects."

The shelves along the walls contain a collection of about 25,000 volumes. These books are not only the usual works of reference,—dictionaries, encyclopaedias, and the like, but they also include a good working library of general literature,—philosophy, religion, science, history, law, biography, standard novels, poetry, and the drama. These books are for the free use of anyone in this room, without the need of making any application. The reader has only to select the book he wishes, and to take it to a table, where he may consult it. When he has finished he should leave it on the table, rather than attempt to return it to its place, since a misplaced book is temporarily lost.

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