Reading Room

Outdoor reading, writing, and literary events

With a storied history in the park, the Reading Room provides the use of books, newspapers, and magazines in the park during warm weather months.


Open today 11:00am–7:00pm

    ​Daily, 11am-7pm


The original Reading Room began in August 1935 as a public response to Depression Era job losses in New York. The New York Public Library opened the “Open Air Library” to give out-of-work businessmen and intellectuals a place to go where they did not need money, a valid address, a library card, or any identification to enjoy the reading materials.

The Reading Room closed in 1944 due to an increase in jobs and World War II. In 2003, Bryant Park revived the park’s Reading Room. The modern day version is modeled after the original with the additions of custom-designed carts for books, periodicals, and newspapers; public readings and programs at lunchtime and after work; and kid-sized carts and furniture for children. The programming, publications, and environment of the Bryant Park Reading Room are available to everyone for free, still without any need of cards or identification.

Reading materials provided by