Membership libraries trace their history in America to the 18th century, when Benjamin Franklin founded the Library Company of Philadelphia. These libraries played a significant role in their communities. While most subscription libraries were replaced or taken over with the advent of free public libraries in the 19th century, several have survived and thrived.
More information about our sister institutions is available in the 2007 book America's Membership Libraries.
Active members of the New York Society Library have reciprocal privileges at the membership libraries listed below (exceptions are marked with an asterisk.) Members may make a maximum of five visits to each library per year. Specific privileges at each library vary, so members should check the institution’s website for details. Members should present their NYSL membership card when visiting, but note that the libraries will call us to verify the membership is active.
Eligible members of the institutions listed below are welcome to visit the New York Society Library. Privileges at the New York Society Library include use of our members only reading and writing rooms (with the exception of private study rooms) and access to the open stacks.
The Membership Libraries