2. The Library of the General Society of Mechanics and Tradesmen (1820)
The Library of the General Society of Mechanics and Tradesmen is a 234-year-old organization founded by the skilled craftsmen of the city. Originally named the Apprentices’ Library, the library was once one of the largest free circulating libraries in New York City. The library is now 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. Notable materials include the Artisan Lecture series and the 176-year-old lecture series of the Labor, Literature, and Landmarks. 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.