One of my favorite places to visit in New York City is the NYPL flagship branch in Manhattan. The grand Stephen A. Schwarzman Building is a must see for any book lover in the city. The grand Beaux-Arts design aside, the NYPL’s collections include millions of books, historical documents, photos, art, and ephemera. And while much of the library’s materials have been digitized in order to access the collections, you must have a NYPL card. And to get one of those, you have to be a resident of New York City; until now.
For the next two months folks anywhere in the U.S. (or with a VPN) can get digital access to many of the NYPL’s online collections that are typically only available to cardholders. Here’s how you do it:
In response to the recent nationwide increase in attempts to ban books, the NYPL has launched their “Books For All” campaign—part of which is granting readers anywhere in the United States (13 or older) free, immediate, digital access to some of their collections. And unlike some online libraries, you don’t have to wait until the digital copy becomes available: All of the titles in the collection are ready to read right away.
- Select “Add a Library Later” to browse the “Books for All Collection”
- Enter your birth year to verify you are 13 or older
- Choose your books and start reading
If you are going to visit New York City and would like to use the library’s collections and materials in person, you can apply online for a temporary library card ahead of your trip, or do so when you arrive at any branch in the system. you’ll need to present a photo id and proof of your home address (i.e. passport and drivers license). Your temporary NYPL card is valid for three months. And while it can be renewed, it must be done in person.