2. The Library of the General Society of Mechanics and Tradesmen (1820)
The Library of the General Society of Mechanics and Tradesmen was established in 1820. The General Society of Mechanics & Tradesmen of the City of New York is a 234-year-old organization founded by the skilled craftsmen of the city. Originally named the Apprentices’ Library, the library had become one of the largest free circulating libraries in New York City. The General Society converted its mechanics school to the Mechanics Institute in 1858. It is renowned for providing tuition-free instruction for trades-related education and is now the oldest privately-endowed, tuition-free, technical school in New York City.
This library contains an extensive collection of research materials, with archives dating back to 1785, such as the 176-year-old lecture series of the Labor, Literature and Landmarks, and Artisan Lecture Series. Unique to the General Society Library, is the John M. Mossman Lock Collection which consists of 370 locks and tools dating back to 4,000 BCE.
The Library of the General Society of Mechanics and Tradesmen is located on 20 West 44th Street and is open from 11 AM to 5 PM.