{N} Travel Postcard #4: New York Public Library


Located on Fifth Avenue between 40th and 42nd streets, The New York Public Library with its two stone lions guarding the entrance is an iconic building. I’d seen pictures of the library, and being book obsessed, I knew that it would make it to my list of places to visit in New York City.

I knew that the library was the second largest public library in the US and third largest in the world, and Wikipedia told me it had nearly 53 million items and two research branches in NYC. But nothing prepared me for the sheer size and beauty of the interiors.

This postcard, people, features the foyer of the library. The entrance. With a million rabbit holes into which a book obsessed person can disappear. Like the library’s famous Rose Main Reading Room, a majestic 78 foot wide by 297 foot long room, with a ceiling that is 52 feet high! Its walls are lined with thousands of reference books on open shelves. The room is lit by massive windows and grand chandeliers, furnished with sturdy wood tables, comfortable chairs and brass lamps. It is also equipped with computers and docking facilities for laptops. And that’s just one of the rooms in the library.

Contrast that with India, where we hardly have any public libraries. The ones we do have are dusty old buildings that no one would really go into. In Gurgaon, for example, there’s only one library I know of – it’s a private library run from a shop in Supermart 1. Shame!

But…I am so, so thankful for my school library and my wonderful librarian who encouraged me to read to my heart’s content, even allowing me to borrow more books than was allowed in a week. I owe my love for reading, in part, to her.

Whatever the cost of our libraries, the price is cheap compared to that of an ignorant nation. – Broadcaster Walter Cronkite

So, which is your favorite library?

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  1. felt good to see this majestic and royal library. agree in India we dont have such huge libraries but I know a couple of good ones in Bnglr and hyd.. Ofcourse they r old bldgs. In hyd there is a british library which I heard is good

  2. The university I went to had a magnificent library, and I wish I had read more books there. I live in a small city in Japan now, and I often go to the closest public library, which is about 30 minute-walk from my house. The building is old and small, but they are affiliated with other libraries in this region and find the books I want to read through their network and lend them to me. I am thankful for them.
    I didn’t know that there are few good libraries in India, and I hope new libraries will be built in your country soon.


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