An exterior shot of The Stephen A. Schwarzman Building of the New York Public Library. Pedestrians cross the street in front of the library and the tops of buildings are visible against a blue sky above.
The Stephen A. Schwarzman Building of the New York Public Library.
Image Source: Wally Gobetz on Flickr, https://www.flickr.com/photos/wallyg/6133216510

You’ve probably seen its famous façade or remarkable reading room in films like Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Maybe you pass by your local branch on your commute. But have you been to the New York Public Library yet? And did you know that all Fordham students and employees are eligible to sign up for a New York Public Library card? That’s right, you don’t need to be a resident of New York to get an NYPL card. Every semester, the Fordham Libraries make it as easy as possible for you to get one by bringing NYPL onto campus to register Fordham students, faculty, and staff for library cards on the spot.

Check our events calendar to see when the next sign-up will be held.

You might be wondering why you need a New York Public Library card when you already have the Fordham Libraries. Here are the top 5 reasons you should get an NYPL card:


#1: Check out items from any NYPL branch.

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Image source: La Universitat de Girona on Giphy, https://gph.is/g/ZkGPWOZ

Of course, the #1 reason to get an NYPL card is to gain borrowing privileges. NYPL is the largest public library system in the U.S. with 92 branches throughout Manhattan, Staten Island, and the Bronx. Their collection consists of over 55 million (!!!) items including print books, e-books, audio books, DVDs, and more.

If you can’t find a book that you need in any of Fordham’s libraries, check the NYPL catalog. Sometimes you need a book right away, and can’t wait for an Interlibrary Loan request to be filled. But if you have an NYPL card, you can check it out there, and you can even have any circulating book sent to your nearest branch for pickup. NYPL is also an excellent option for checking out popular literature that may not be within Fordham’s collection scope, or books for your kids/younger siblings. Really, it’s a benefit for your whole family.

#2: Access online research databases

Expand your research! Though the Fordham Libraries offer many databases, there is always more to find. NYPL subscribes to hundreds of databases, giving you access to a wealth of current and historical scholarly journals, magazines, newspapers, primary sources, reference sources, and so much more. No matter your area of study, chances are there are some databases you will find useful.

Check out the extensive list of databases available through NYPL.

#3: Get free admission to dozens of NYC museums

Here at Fordham, we know that New York City is your campus. We also know the value of free stuff for college students. Expand your campus even wider by getting free admission to the city’s best attractions with Culture Pass. It includes a number of museums as well as other cultural institutions, like the Wave Hill gardens in the Bronx and the New-York Historical Society in Manhattan. See a full list of participating institutions.

How do you get a Culture Pass? It’s easy. Just go to the Culture Pass website and login with your NYPL card number. Then, you can browse passes by date or venue, and make a reservation. You’ll need to print or download the pass in order to gain admission. The only thing to keep in mind – you can only use a Culture Pass at a given institution once per year.

Happy exploring!

#4: Apply for the Manhattan Research Library Initiative (MaRLI)

As NYPL cardholders, Fordham faculty members and PhD students can apply to be part of the MaRLI program. MaRLI allows you to borrow from the collections of the Columbia University and New York University libraries, if items you need for research are unavailable at NYPL. In case-specific scenarios, it can also enables you to borrow certain research materials that are usually available for on-site use only. This opens even more doors in your research journey.

Read full details about eligibility and how to apply. If you’d like to learn more or get help applying for MaRLI, speak to one of our own Reference Librarians, who can offer you more insight and guidance into the process.

#5: Get even smarter with free online courses

You may have heard of Lynda (now called LinkedIn Learning, having recently been purchased by LinkedIn) or Mango Languages. Normally you would have to pay to access these platforms, but NYPL subscribes to the services so cardholders can use them at no cost.

Lynda offers thousands of courses in business, technology, and the arts that allow you to learn at your own pace. Maybe you want to learn to use Adobe Illustrator, master Excel, or even how to manage your time. Supplement what you’re learning in your classes at Fordham, or just explore a new topic you’ve always been curious about. Browse the list of courses that are available.

Note: since Lynda was acquired by LinkedIn, it is now necessary to have a LinkedIn account to access Lynda. This undermines patrons’ rights to privacy and may affect your decision to use the service. For more information on this topic, see this recent article from EdSurge.

Mango Languages makes learning a new language (or strengthening your existing knowledge) fun and interactive. There are over 70 languages to learn, but there are also ESL resources if you’re looking to advance your English skills. This can be a great resource for extra practice outside of your language classes, or allow you to learn a language even if you can’t fit it in your class schedule. See everything that Mango Languages has to offer.


Even without a library card, keep in mind that the New York Public Library can serve as a free place to study anywhere you may find yourself in the Bronx, Manhattan, or Staten Island. The main branch, the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building on 42nd Street/5th Ave., is also worth visiting just to see its magnificent architecture, iconic Rose Main Reading Room, and regular exhibits that are open to the public. As a Fordham student, don’t miss out on one of NYC’s best (and one of the rare FREE) attractions while you’re here.

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