FAQ: The New York State Library
- Who is eligible to borrow materials?
- How does Interlibrary Loan work?
- Can New York residents access the Library online?
- What newspapers does the Library have?
- How do I access materials in Manuscripts and Special Collections?
- When is the Library open?
- How do I get there?
- Can I request materials electronically through the catalog?
- Is there a public library for people who need recorded or braille books or magazines?
- Are there any job openings at the New York State Library?
- What classification system does the New York State Library use?
Circulation/Borrowing: Direct borrowing privileges for circulating materials are extended to:
- NYS Residents
- Permanently appointed New York State government employees
- Licensed physicians resident in New York State
- Attorneys admitted to the New York State bar and resident in New York State
- Local historians appointed by New York State local governmental bodies
- Retired New York State government employees
All direct borrowers must have a borrower's card from the New York State Library (NYSL). To apply for a NYSL borrower's card, contact staff in the Circulation Unit at (518) 473-7895 or Circ@mail.nysed.gov.
Temporary cards may be issued for eligible full-time New York State agency interns. Inquire at the Circulation Desk at (518) 473-7895.
Other individuals may borrow books and other circulating materials from the New York State Library by contacting the Interlibrary Loan office of their own local library.
On-Site Use: Members of the general public are welcome to use the Library's collections Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. for study and research. (The Library is closed on New York State holidays.)
Please see our "Interlibrary Loan" page at http://www.nysl.nysed.gov/ill.htm.
Yes, registered borrowers can access the online databases remotely, and New York State residents can now borrow directly from the New York State Library. All databases are also available for onsite use.
NOVELNY Databases are also available to New York State residents through their local public library, academic library or school library.
Please see our Access to Newspapers page for information on how to search Excelsior, which Newspapers are on Microfilm, and which are in printed format.
Manuscripts and Special Collections is open for on-site research on the 11th floor, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday to Friday excluding New York State legal holidays. Material is retrieved for research at 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. daily.
You can contact this unit at New York State Library, Manuscripts and Special Collections, CEC, Empire State Plaza, Albany, NY 12230. Phone: (518) 474-6282. (See also, Finding Aids to Manuscripts Collections.)
See Library hours and holidays .
Yes, there are four libraries in New York State which serve everyone eligible for recorded and braille books:
- Westchester County and upstate New York: New York State Library, Talking Book and Braille Library
- New York City: Andrew Heiskell Braille and Talking Book Library
- Nassau County: email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Suffolk County: Talking Books Plus; email: email@example.com
You are eligible for this library service if you can't see well enough to read conventional print, or have a physical limitation which prevents you from holding a book or turning its pages, or have a physically-based reading disability. For more information, see the list below (if you live in another state, contact the regional library for that state):
- NLS: Find a Library: Regional and Subregional Libraries/Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped. ("Or call call 1-888-NLS-READ (1-888-657-7323) and be connected with the library serving your area.")
Please see our "New York State Resources on Jobs and Employment" page.
The primary classification scheme for the NYSL is the Dewey Decimal Classification System.
Many items are also classified with the Superintendent of Documents Classification System.
Because we have so many New York State documents, the New York State Library also has its own "home created" New York State Document system.