Visit the New York Public Library Gift Shop
[ NEW YORK, NY - NYC - 11/20/2009 - www.Littleviews.com ]
>> Visit the main New York Public Library to see one of America's few grand palaces. Built by European craftsmen with imported stones and other precious materials, it is visually worthy of public use and inspiration. That this building houses great book and other intellectual collections makes it even more awe-inspiring.
More information about the library building and a bit of its history appears at the end of this article.
The main library is a palace for scholars and researchers. Here they can collaborate or study individually in the Rose Reading Room, where they can browse books from the library's non-circulating (in-house) collection.
Among the many areas you can access when you enter the main library from its front steps are Astor Hall, which is America's most monumental, rare, white-marble entrance room, the third-floor McGraw Rotunda, the library's historic Lionel Pincus and Princess Firyal Map Division, and the Gift Shop, where you might want to begin your visit.
Prices in the gift shop range from $2 to hundreds of dollars for things such as fine jewelry, one-of-a-kind items assembled from cardboard, books on how to use libraries, maps of all types, calendars and books about New York, children's books and related toys, plus much more.
And while I love to buy moderately expensive items, especially when every purchase supports the library, little, inexpensive things, like the crisp image of Patience on a magnet, help me and my friends remember the grandeur and beauty of the main library.
Books, of course, are curated (selected) to represent library collections and unique publishing techniques. Featured pop-up books, like the one above on butterflies, are stunning.
Many books in the children's section provide information on how to use the library's extensive system and several are accompanied by toys and puzzles that help reinforce the subject.
Items throughout the gift shop call attention to New York City monuments and popular sights. Wire sculptures of buildings (in this case, the Empire State Building) are exceptionally popular.
If you are on a tight budget, items like logo-embedded tacks, magnets, bookmarks, pins, and pens make perfect small gifts. Packaged together, they also make interesting party favors (perhaps for an "I've Returned From New York" party) and Christmas stocking stuffers, among many things.
The Children's Center entrance is on 42nd Street. I recommend, however, that you first acquaint your children with adult spaces by going through the main door on 5th Avenue between 42nd and 40th Streets. Do this so that they can see, feel, and be inspired by historical grandeur.
The main library houses the original Winnie-the-Pooh collection. On exhibit in the children's area are real Winnie-the-Pooh stuffed animals and illustrations. The article, A Real Pooh Timeline, provides more background about the exhibit. Pictures of the original stuffed animals can be seen on the library's Treasures website page.
The family of Pooh's deceased author, A. A. Milne, authorized a new book in the series and honored the library by announcing the new volume in 2009 from the children's section. The book is entitled Return to the Hundred Acre Wood and features a new character, Lottie-the-Otter, pictured here. You can buy the book in the giftshop!
Addresses and Links
Address: The main doors of the library are located on 5th Avenue, between 42nd and 40th Streets. Another entrance is on 42nd Street, near 5th Avenue, which is also the Children's Center entrance. Behind the library is the fabulous Bryant Park (6th Avenue between 42nd and 40th Streets), which features many events, an antique merry-go-round, winter ice-skating pond, and fine dining.
This article was created in collaboration with New York Public Library personnel, Sara Abraham, Director of Retail Operations, and Barbara Bergeron, a library fact-checker and editor. Additional information includes:
Questions? Contact me at
Article and photo by Karen Little. All photos taken for this article have been donated for use by the New York Public Library. First published on 11/20/2009. All rights reserved by www.Littleviews.com.