Tompkins Square Library

331 East 10th Street
New York, NY 10009

212-228-4747

History

The Tompkins Square Branch of The New York Public Library has been serving residents of Manhattan's Lower East Side since 1904. Historically, it dates back to 1887, when it opened as the Fifth Street Branch of the Aguilar Free Library. The branch relocated three times before moving to its present site facing Tompkins Square Park. Designed by the famous architects McKim, Mead and White and constructed with funds donated to the City by philanthropist Andrew Carnegie, the three-story branch has 16-foot ceilings and a spacious children's room on the second floor. Traditionally, Tompkins Square has served varied ethnic populations, including German, Italian, Jewish, Polish, and Ukrainian, and, since the 1960s, a thriving arts community (an art gallery in the basement features shows by local artists). A major renovation of the branch, as part of the Library's Adopt-A-Branch program, was completed in 1996.

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