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nypl-bronx_spuyten-duyvil-library_giorgio-cavaglieri_1971NYPL Spuyten Duyvil branch. All photos by Elizabeth Felicella.

The new exhibit, Reading Room: A Catalog of New York City’s Branch Librariesopened yesterday at the Center for Architecture, featuring photographs by Elizabeth Felicella of all 210 of the New York Public Library branches. The extensive collection totals over 2000 images, ranging from expansive architectural interior and exterior shots to details. The idea, writes the Center for Architecture, is to invite the viewer “to appreciate the intricacy, complexity, and vast scope of these vital and evolving public resources.” The project took a total of five years and the images are organized in the Center for Architecture exhibit by date of the library’s construction.

nypl-bronx_tremont-library_carrere-and-hastings_1905NYPL Tremont Branch by Carrere and Hastings

Felicella says of the project:

I began by browsing: in the end, if I have come away with an agenda or a wish, it is that the branch buildings of New York City’s public libraries be understood and maintained as a collection, a rare and living architectural legacy, all the more extraordinary for its mutations, planned and unplanned over the course of the last century. It is a collection that is part and parcel of the evolution of modern public life as we know it; places that reflect and shape our best and changing aspirations as a society and as individuals within it.

nypl-manhattan_-hamilton-grange-library-145th-street_mckim-mead-white_1907NYPL Hamilton Grange Library

While some images have been on display before, this is the first time that the entire collection will be exhibited. Felicella was previously the artist in residence at the Brooklyn Museum in 2013 and has worked on large project that include a survey of the city’s shoreline and an atlas of the periphery of John F. Kennedy Airport.

Here are some additional images shared with us by the Center for Architecture:

nypl-bronx_-belmont-library-and-enrico-fermi-cultural-centerNYPL Belmont Branch

nypl-manhattan_-aguilar-library_herts-tallant_1905NYPL Aguilar branch

brooklyn-public-library_clarendon-library-2_perkins-eastman_1954Brooklyn Public Library, Clarendon branch

brooklyn-public-library_brooklyn-heights-branch_1962Brooklyn Public Library, Brooklyn Heights Branch

nypl-bronx_throgs-neck-library_1974NYPL Throgs Neck Branch in the Bronx

brooklyn-public-library_pacific-library_raymond-f-almirall_1903Brooklyn Public Library Pacific Branch

brooklyn-public-library_pacific-library-2_raymond-f-almirall_1903Brooklyn Public Library Pacific branch

nypl-bronx_mott-haven-library_babb-cook-willard_1905NYPL Mott Haven branch in the Bronx

nypl-manhattan_-hamilton-fish-park-library_1960NYPL Hamilton Fish Park branch in Manhattan

nypl-manhattan_-seward-park-library_babb-cook-welch_1909NYPL Seward Park branch

nypl-bronx_francis-martin-library_1957NYPL Francis Martin branch in the Bronx

See the exhibit at the Center for Architecture at 536 LaGuardia Place until January 7, 2017.

Next, check out the Top 10 Secrets of the New York Public Library and read about the new “book train” that has been installed at the main branch of the NYPL.

1 Comment

  1. Jennifer says:

    Hi, the headline is slightly misleading since all 3 NYC library systems have different numbers of branches. Maybe use the phrase “New York City’s public libraries” in the headline as is done in the gray box quoting the photographer. New York Public Library (NYPL) only refers to branches in Manhattan, Staten Island and the Bronx. Queens Library (QL) and Brooklyn Public Library (BPL) are of course separate systems with 59 and 60 branches each. Thanks!

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