Bridging the neighborhoods of Yorkville and East Harlem, the 96th Street Branch has been a vital center of information, learning, and recreation for a diverse community since it opened in September 1905. One of the 65 libraries built with funds donated to New York City by Andrew Carnegie, the library was designed by the noted architecture firm Babb, Cook and Willard. Both beautiful and functional, the interior is distinguished by tall arched windows, lofty ceilings, wide staircases, and dark oak bookshelves. A renovation in 1991 considerably expanded the space available to the public and modernized the building, while retaining its original architectural beauty.
The branch contains an adult reading room, a children’s room with a separate space for story hours, an expanded reference center, a conference room, and an auditorium with a seating capacity of 50. Monthly art exhibits are among the many programs and events offered for adults, children, and teens.