The Seven Most Beautiful Libraries in New York

Few things are more tempting than curling up with a good book. Rather than staying in bed, we're taking to New York's libraries, from the grand to the tucked-away, to dust of old classics and catch up on the latest titles.

NYC's best destinations for book lovers

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The Morgan Library & Museum

A truly extravagant library in Midtown Manhattan, the Morgan (trite as it may sound) feels as if straight out of Harry Potter - more specifically, its towering stacks of books are reminiscent of Ollivander's wand shop. Elaborate tapestries and Persian carpets as well as a colossal fireplace make the space extremely sumptuous, while the exhibitions never cease to impress - expect showcases of John Singer Sargent charcoal portraits and Saint-Exupéry drawings.

Address

225 Madison Avenue NY 10016

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New York Society Library

Located in the Upper East Side, the New York Society Library was instituted in 1754, making it the city's oldest of its kind. Unlike some of New York's gargantuan reading spaces, the rooms in this former townhouse are small and cosy, making it the perfect place to while away a snowy afternoon. If you find yourself reading Breakfast at Tiffany's in a plush armchair here, the experience will be enhanced by the fact that Truman Capote used to hang around in this very space, perhaps brainstorming for the novel.

Address

53 East 79th Street NY 10075

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Stephen A. Schwarzman Building, New York Public Library

Perhaps the city's grandest reading space, the New York Public Library is the stuff of legend. The striking Rose Main Reading Room is illuminated by chandeliers and framed by ceiling murals and large arched windows, but the most impressive facet of this library is the size of its collection. With 45 million items, including 10 million books as well as maps, music sheets and more, it's every bookworm's dream come true (in a seriously stunning setting).

Address

476 5th Avenue NY 10018

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Central Library, Brooklyn Public Library

Ascending the steps to the modern facade of the Brooklyn Public Library might feel more like arriving at the Palais de Tokyo than at a place to read. Beyond the imposing gold-emblazoned doors, however, are soaring ceilings and bright, contemporary spaces in which to browse the library's collection. Anyone sick of traditional old-school libraries (but in dire need of finishing up a research paper), this is your go-to.

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Butler Library, Columbia University

Grab a guest pass and head to Butler Library, Columbia University's largest library and the place to be whether you need to do some research or are hunting down a quiet place to read. With soaring ceilings and chandeliers in some rooms and cosy nooks in others, this beautiful space guarantees that you'll find your spot (even if you happen to find yourself between stressed students around exam time). The services here are also excellent, especially if you're looking for a volume that's tricky to track down.

Address

535 West 114th Street NY 10027

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Poets House

A pretty public library right on Rockefeller Park overlooking the Hudson, Poets House holds more than 70,000 volumes and hosts readings and workshops of all kinds despite its smaller size. The reading room here gets plenty of sunshine, so if you're feeling overwhelmed by the Financial District's towering buildings that block out most light, head here for a few hours of Zen.

Address

10 River Terrace NY 10282

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Jefferson Market Library, New York Public Library

Located in a former Greenwich Village courthouse, this library has the allure of a castle or church. Once you've readjusted your neck from looking up at the soaring red-brick clock tower, designed by some of the architects who assisted in creating Central Park, prepare to be equally wowed by the interiors. Step into a room lit up by stained-glass windows for a writing workshop or snuggle up in a gothic-style Victorian reading room.

Address

425 Avenue of the Americas NY 10011