The Center for Fiction’s Library houses a dynamic collection of literary fiction. Members enjoy borrowing privileges from our catalog of over 70,000 titles, as well as access to our tech-friendly Lounge and classrooms, tech-free Reading Room, and outdoor Terrace. Learn more below and become a member today!
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Head Librarian & Education Director
About the Library
“The library is an arena of possibility, opening both a window into the soul and a door onto the world.” —Rita Dove
The Center for Fiction’s Library has its roots in possibility. Founded in 1821 as The Mercantile Library of New York, the organization’s mission was to provide the workers of New York City a space for education and conversation. Our current Library continues to foster this tradition through our award-winning fiction collection, where you can find the newest releases alongside classics, rare books, and our Caribbean Fiction Collection. The Library is an integral part of The Center’s mission to promote and celebrate the art of fiction. Become a member today for access to our stellar collection and start exploring the possibilities!
Members may pick up requests, return borrowed items, place holds, and visit our Lounge, Reading Room, classrooms, and outdoor Terrace during the following hours.
- Monday–Thursday: 11am–8pm
- Friday: 11am–5pm
- Saturday & Sunday: 12–5pm
Members will be notified of any schedule adjustments and closures. Members need their keycards to access the Library during these hours. Learn more and review our health and safety protocols here.
Browse our catalog of over 70,000 titles currently here.
The current collection, composed of books published in the last year, is shelved in the Lounge on the second floor. The older fiction is shelved in open stacks throughout all three levels of The Center. Our cellar is closed for browsing and a small portion of our fiction, nonfiction, and biography collections is currently housed in a storage facility offsite but can be requested by members.
The Library takes requests! If you’d like to see a book added to our collection, simply fill out this form.
The Center for Fiction is proud to be one of the thriving membership libraries in the country that make up the Membership Libraries Group. Active members of The Center for Fiction have privileges at our sister institutions.
Caribbean Fiction Collection
“Reading the Caribbean means you read the world”
As a cultural institution in downtown Brooklyn, our overarching goal is to reflect our community. The history of the Caribbean community in Brooklyn and throughout New York City is rich and multifaceted, going back generations. The Caribbean is an extremely prolific region of storytellers and boasts a distinct literary aesthetic. To the islands of the Caribbean, Brooklyn is the gateway to the diaspora. This idea is reflected in the numbers. Brooklyn is home to the highest concentration of Caribbean lives outside of the region. The Caribbean fiction collection within our Library is a meticulously-researched joint project of the Brooklyn Caribbean Literary Festival (BCLF) and The Center for Fiction.
Literary Fiction, Mystery & Nonfiction Collections
Our literary fiction collection includes a wide range of classic and contemporary fiction, from both independent presses as well as large publishers. Each year, the Library adds hundreds of new fiction titles.
Our mystery and suspense books are located in the cellar of our building and are part of the circulating collection. We have some of the first mystery and detective novels published in the United States as well as more contemporary authors and publications from around the world. Our cellar is closed for browsing, but you can still place requests through our catalog.
Our nonfiction collection contains a selection of nonfiction books related to the art of fiction, including titles in literary criticism, biography, and books on reading and writing.