Harlem Library Celebrates Its Centennial!
Actor/playwright Ossie Davis once described it as “the only home I had … the very temple of my existence, my craft, the place that trained me, the first institution to welcome me.” The Harlem Library marks its centennial on July 24 with special performances, guest speakers, and more! View an online gallery of this historic library.
The Harlem Library has come a long way since its founding in 1825 when Harlem was a small village with few people, a single church, and a little schoolhouse. At that time duodecimo volumes were lent out for one week at a time, octavo for two weeks, and a quarto for three weeks. When the founders of the Harlem Library first met, they appropriated $100 for book purchases, slightly less that the $150 used to purchase the Harlem Library’s first home which measured a scant 22 by 28 feet. Since its incorporation into The New York Public Library and the building of its present location at 9 West 124th Street in 1909, with funds from Andrew Carnegie’s historic gift, readers of all ages have continued to come to the Harlem Branch Library for education, entertainment, and enlightenment. The library was recently modernized to accommodate modern technology while retaining the stately historic elements of its original McKim, Mead and White design.