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New York Public Library
The New York Public Library stands as the second largest public library that is located in North America. Today, the library has one of the most significant collections of information in the entire world. The library is managed privately by a nonprofit corporation, and has branches in three different locations. Those branches are located in Manhattan, The Bronx and Staten Island. When all of the branches are combined, they make up the 26th largest library in the United States.
There are more than 87 libraries within the New York Public Library. Four of these libraries do not lend books, and function only as research libraries. Other locations include a library that was specifically designed for the blind and physically challenged. In addition to the lager branches, there are 77 branches that serve neighborhoods in New York. None of the libraries that make up the New York Public Library charge for admission, and by 2008, it is estimated that the New York Public Library contained more than 44,000,000 items including books, videos and maps. In all, the only libraries that surpass the New York Public Library in terms of items in the collection are the Library of Congress as well as the British Library.
The New York Public Library began when New York governor Samuel J. Tilden left most of his money, totaling $2.4 million, toward establishing a free library system in New York City. He died in 1886, and at that time there were already two very large libraries that were located in New York City, however neither of them were the public institution that Tilden was looking his money to be donated towards.
In 1892, the other two significant libraries in the city were experiencing quite a bit of financial trouble. It was at this time that John Bigelow, who was a trustee for Tilden, put together a plan that would combine all of the resources located in both of the libraries to create the New York Public Library.
The main branch is located on Fifth Avenue, filling the space between 40th and 42nd street. It is a prime location that is frequented by many on their way to see the many other attractions that New York has to offer.
The two stone lions that sit at the entrance were created by Edward Clark Potter, a famous sculptor. They are often the site of many pictures taken by tourists and sightseers. It was not until 1965 that the location was named a National Historic Landmark.
Even today, the library continues to expand to new locations and adds branches where the need is highest. The board decided to expand the number of branches when their collection started to outgrow the space that they had. The main branch building has undergone a number of renovations since it was created to ensure that it still has the same glowing presence inside, as well as the stone, hard architecture that is featured on the outside. The New York Public Library is truly a relic of New York City.