THE NEW YORK PUBLIC LIBRARY occupies the site of the old Croton distributing reservoir, extending from 40th to 42d street. The building contains the general administration offices, the central reference collection of over two million volumes, and a circulation collection of 300,000 volumes. Carrere and Hastings were the architects. The cornerstone was laid on Nov. I0, 1902; the building was opened to the public on May 23, 1911.
The new york public library is in form of a rectangle, 390 feet long and 270 feet deep, built around two inner courts, each about eighty feet square. The area covered is about 115.000 square feet. The material is largely Vermont marble. There are seats for 768 readers in the main reading room, and seats in other public rooms bring the total capacity up to 1,760. In the main stack room are 334,530 feet (63.3 miles) of shelving, with capacity for 2,500,000 volumes. Book stacks in the special reading rooms amount to about 70,000 feet, with capacity for 500,000 volumes.
The main reading room, on the third (top) floor of the new york public library , is reached by elevator. Subject to a few simple regulations, any person may have brought to him, for consultation within this room, practically any book in the building. For detailed investigation special reading rooms are provided in various parts of the building, where a reader may have direct access to the books there shelved. A visitor who wishes a definition, direction or similar brief summary will probably find it most convenient to use the few reference books in the circulation room (80) opposite the 42d street entrance. If these fail, he will have to go to the main reading room. A visitor who wishes to spend an hour in casual or aimless browsing may do so in the circulation room (80), or among the books on open shelves in the main reading room, or among the current periodicals in the room at the southeast corner of the first floor.
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