After carefully considering the rapidly changing situation in New York City around novel coronavirus (COVID-19), The General Society Library will be closed for the time being.
Welcome to the Library of the General Society of Mechanics and Tradesmen! As a subscriber, you will join thousands of other New Yorkers who have benefited from the Library since 1820.
Established in 1820 as the Apprentices’ Library, by the 19th century the Library had become the largest free circulating library in New York City. The Library space is host to our 176-year-old lecture series, which includes the Labor, Literature and Landmarks, and Artisan Lecture Series.
The Library has more than 100,000 volumes of fiction, non-fiction, trade, and technical-related research materials. The collections represent the importance placed on a broad education and illustrate urban work history.
As the second-oldest continuously operating library in New York City, the wealth of older books makes the library an excellent research facility. Its archives date back to 1785.
The Library has recently begun to automate its catalog but continues to use the card catalog and classification system created by the librarian in 1901. The main reading room soars to a height of three stories topped by a magnificent skylight.
Please note that for the immediate future, the Library will be open as a Reading Room—Tuesday through Thursday — from 11am to 3pm. It will be open for Circulation from 12-3 p.m.
Please click HERE for Library Member Login, Library Hours, to search the Online Catalog and other General Information regarding the Library.
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