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History of the 42nd Street Library: Using the Library Today

The Research Catalog

While this guide focuses on the Library's history, it remains a vital resource for researchers around the world. You can explore millions of materials from the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building, The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, and The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts.

Researchers can also use the Research Catalog to access offsite storage materials from NYPL, Columbia University, Princeton University, and Harvard University. Items will be delivered in 1-2 business days to The Stephen A. Schwarzman Building, Rose Main Reading Room.

The Library Card

To access our collections, both on-site and remote, you must have a Library card. Residents of New York City or tourists to the city (locally or abroad) can apply online here. Please keep in mind that you will need to bring a photo ID and proof of address with you when you come to authenticate your card. More information on library cards is available here.

Get in Touch

Research librarians and curators are available to answer research-specific questions via email. Reach out to us at You can also visit our website for a full list of contacts in the Schwarzman Building.


Book a Consultation 

The 42nd Street Library provides virtual and in-person reference consultations one-on-one. All levels of researchers are welcome. Consultations include catalog navigation, demonstrations of online services and databases (articles, abstracts, and so on), as well as source investigation for a specific topic. Please click on the link above to book a consultation. A Librarian will evaluate your inquiry and will respond promptly.