Writer. Reader. Reviewer. Resource Maven.

Wednesday’s WiP: Getting to Know the New York Society Library

The New York Society Library's quiet tribute last Wednesday evening to Maya Angelou, who passed away earlier that day.

The New York Society Library’s quiet tribute last Wednesday evening to Maya Angelou, who passed away earlier that day.

As someone who works a 9-5, M-F “day job” in a midtown Manhattan office, I’m a homebody during much of my out-of-office time. I’m lucky to live in an apartment I love. Ideally, I’d get lots of writing done there.

In fact, much of my at-home time is spent decompressing, darting in-and-out (errands, exercise, trips to my sister’s place nearby), housekeeping, laundering, and all those other activities that can keep us busy with everything except writing. Which may explain why my parents chose a special gift for my most recent birthday: a membership to the New York Society Library.

My parents have always been intrigued by the Library, which, like my sister’s apartment, is located within easy walking distance. They’ve encouraged me to think about getting a membership there. I guess I dithered too long, because this spring, they went ahead and treated me to said membership themselves. And after work last Wednesday evening, I made my inaugural visit in conjunction with the organization’s party for new members.

So, what is the New York Society Library? A brief summary: “Founded in 1754, the Library is open to all for reading, reference, and many events. Circulation and other services are available to members. Our landmark building houses over 300,000 volumes, reading rooms, study spaces, a children’s library, and an exhibition gallery.” Notably, in addition to its individual study rooms and impressive periodical collection (which I surveyed on Wednesday evening), the Library offers a variety of “Writer Services” that I’m starting to look into.

Unfortunately for me, I’m coming to all of this at a fairly inauspicious time of year. The Library is closed weekends during the summer, and it’s open past five only two days each week. Hardly ideal for any writer with a day job! Nonetheless, I’m hoping to experiment a bit with this new location for me to write and to read. We’ll see what happens. Meantime, we can all enjoy the Library’s archived event recordings. (I’m likely to begin with Meg Wolitzer in conversation with Delia Ephron re: The Interestings.)

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