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Reading Room left entry side


We are happy to say that our member floor is open! You can now pick up your requests, return your borrowed items, place holds, and come visit us on the second floor during the following hours:

  • Monday – Friday: 11am – 8pm
  • Saturday & Sunday: 12pm – 5pm

To browse our catalog, click here.

Our Members Lounge, Reading Room, Terrace, and Café are now open! (Our Cellar is still closed for browsing but you can place requests for titles from our collection!) Not a member yet? Join today!

Questions about the library?

Head Librarian

Allison Escoto

About the Library

Reading Room right entrance view

“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. Originally known as the Mercantile Library of New York and founded in 1821, its 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 and rare books. 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!


Browse our catalog of over 70,000 titles currently in our library here.

The current collection, composed of books published in the last year, is shelved in the Member Lounge on the 2nd floor. The older fiction is shelved in open stacks throughout all three levels of our Center. A small portion of our fiction, non-fiction, and biography collections are currently housed in a storage facility offsite but can be requested by members.

Our Collection

Literary Fiction


Literary Fiction

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 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.