NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – In this episode of The Dig, CBS2’s Elle McLogan gets special access to the New York Public Library’s main branch, the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building.
Flanked by a pair of lion statues named Patience and Fortitude, the building is an international destination for book-lovers and sightseers.
“About 12,000 people a day come into the library. We had over three million people last year,” said Keith Glutting, manager of the Visitor Volunteer Program.
Even so, Glutting believes that the library is too often overlooked by locals.
“A lot of New Yorkers come in and say, ‘Oh, I haven’t been here in years,’ or ‘I’ve never been here.’ [But] it’s here for you,” he said.
“This is a dynamic, working library. It’s not a monument. It’s not a museum.”
WEB EXTRA: NYC Libraries With Amazing Children’s Rooms
“When the building opened, it was the largest marble structure in the country,” he said. “It took nine years to build.”
“We have 92 libraries in the Bronx, Manhattan and Staten Island. Four of them are research libraries. [The main branch] is the humanities and social sciences library. At Lincoln Center, next to the Metropolitan Opera, you have the performing arts library. On 135th Street and Malcom X Boulevard, you have the Schomburg Center for Research and Black Culture . . . and then our Science, Industry and Business Library is on Madison and 34th Street.”
WEB EXTRA: Best Historic Landmarks In New York City
Glutting explained that the Rose Main Reading Room contains 26,000 thousand books. Another four million are stored underground, beneath the adjacent Bryant Park.
“You just dig into the library, and you find your dreams. That’s what the library’s about.”
To see the treasures of the library in person, take a free one-hour tour of the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building. Available on a first-come basis, tours begin at 11 AM and 2 PM on Monday through Saturdays at the reception desk in Astor Hall.
Stephen A. Schwarzman Building
New York Public Library
476 Fifth Avenue
New York, NY 10018
What’s something few people know about but everybody should? Whatever it is, Elle McLogan is tracking it down on The Dig. Join her hunt for treasures hidden across our area. Follow Elle on Twitter and Instagram.