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Public Library Systems in New York City: New York, Brooklyn, and Queens

General Information

Image of a statue of a lion outside the flagship location of the New York Public Libary

New York City has three library systems:

  • New York Public Library (NYPL) serves Manhattan, Staten Island, and the Bronx
  • Brooklyn Public Library (BPL) serves Brooklyn
  • Queens Library serves Queens

Library Services include:

  • Borrowing physical books for children, young adults, and adults, both fiction and nonfiction
  • Borrowing e-books and audiobooks that can be read on phone, computer, or e-reader
  • Reference services to help you find the book, resource, or information you need
  • Printing, computer use, and free wi-fi
  • Events for babies and children, like storytime, interactive music and movement classes, crafts, games, and homework help
  • Events for teens including crafts, gaming, book groups, movie nights, and homework help
  • Events for adults including book discussion groups, crafts, language classes, and technology workshops
  • Career services, including resume and cover-letter classes, financial counseling, and business resources

Public Library Events and Services

NYPL Events

The Library is here to help you learn and connect with your community through our wide array of free events, programs, classes, book clubs, and more. Please check listings to confirm if a program is in-person, online, or outdoors.

If you have any questions about events, please contact the participating branch for more information.

Brooklyn Public Library Events

The Library has numerous daily events for all ages. Events can be in-person, outside, and virtual. Unless otherwise noted, events are free. 

Queens Public Library Events

Queens Public Library presents a diverse array of activities and events for all ages including kids, teens, and older adults. Programs range from technology training to cultural performances and from job help to teleconferences for the homebound.

NYPL Locations

Brookyn Library Locations

Queens Library Locations

Library Card Information

The NYPL, Brooklyn Public Library, and Queens Public Library all have a central library location, as well as many branch libraries located around the boroughs.

All of them allow people who live, work, attend school, or own property in New York State to get a full library card that allows you to check out physical books, read e-books and other online resources, and make use of other library services. 

They all also have an "e-card" option, available for those who aren't able to get to a library location to get their full card. E-card options allow for more limited use of library resources. 

Please see below for information on how to sign up for a library card.

New York Public Library

If you live, work, attend school, or pay property taxes in New York State, you can get a free library card!

To get a digital library card, fill out the form at the link above. To get a physical library card, to check out physical library books, go to an open NYPL location, fill out the application form there, and present one or more of the following forms of identification

Adults may provide only one piece of identification if it is 1 of the following valid New York State or City IDs:

  • Current driver's license
  • Current photo learner's permit
  • Current non-driver's identification (includes IDNYC)

If the above documentation is not available, any 2 of the following forms of identification are acceptable for adults and/or young adults, provided one shows a photo and name and/or signature and the other the applicant's current address:

  • Current college or university photo ID card
  • Current employee photo ID card
  • New York City welfare ID card
  • Current Armed Services ID card
  • Alien Registration photo ID card
  • Matricula Consular (Mexican CID)
  • Current passport
  • Medicare/Medicaid card
  • Social Security card
  • Birth certificate
  • New York State motor vehicle registration
  • Professional, vocational or union photo ID
  • Current rent bill or lease agreement
  • Tax bill or receipt**
  • Transit pass
  • Current photo ID with signature and expiration date issued by an embassy or consulate in New York
  • Statement from a homeless shelter*
  • Bank statement**
  • Cable, phone or utility bill**
  • Any piece of mail delivered by the US Post Office**

Brooklyn Public Library

Brooklyn Public Library's card is free for anyone that lives, works, pays property taxes, or attends school in New York State.

Eligible individuals can fill out the webform at the above link, after which they will be directed to go to a currently open BPL branch with appropriate identification to complete their registration and pick up their card.

Eligible individuals may also fill out this webform to get access only to digital materials

Acceptable government issued IDs include:

  • Current New York State Driver’s License
  • Current New York State Driver’s Permit
  • Current New York State Identification Card
  • Current IDNYC Municipal Card

See below for what to do if you are a New York resident with an out-of-state ID.

Young adults (ages 13 to 16) can also provide the following in lieu of the above:

  • Current school photo ID
  • Current report card
  • Working papers

If you do not have any of the IDs listed above, you may provide a current photo ID (e.g. passport, work ID, military ID, green card, etc.) plus proof of current NYS address that has been issued in the last 3 months (paystub, postmarked mail, utility bill). An electronic bill, rental/lease agreement, or bank statement may be used to fulfill the residency requirement*.

Queens Public Library

If you live, work, go to school or own property in New York State, you are eligible for a full Queens Library card. Anyone is eligible for a Queens e-library card; simply fill out the webform available at the link above.

To get a regular Queens Library Card, go to an open Queens Library location with the appropriate identification:

This can be one of the following New York State IDs:

  • Your driver's license
  • Your learner's permit (with photo)
  • Your non-driver's identification card

OR one of these photo IDs:

  • Your employee photo ID card
  • Your NYC welfare ID card
  • Your photo college/university ID
  • Your passport
  • Your photo alien registration card
  • Your military ID card
  • Your professional, vocational, or union photo ID

AND one of these with your address:

  • Your Medicare card
  • Your working papers
  • Your transit pass
  • Your New York State motor vehicle registration
  • Your current rental or lease agreement
  • A check or checkbook with your name and address
  • A tax bill or receipt
  • A bank statement from within the last three months
  • A rent bill from the last three months
  • A utility bill (electric, gas, phone, TV, etc.) from the last three months
  • Any piece of your mail delivered within the last three months

Public Library Archives and Special Collections

New York Public Library

Brooklyn Public Library

Queens Library

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