Replace the library card you lost in a heated game of jacks with today's Groupon: for $45, you get a one-year membership to The Center for Fiction plus a $10 gift certificate for the gift shop (a $135 total value). This cultural mecca in the heart of Midtown is a literary paradise where book-lovers can come to borrow a book or get lost in one.
The center has a growing collection of 75,000 historical and recent works of fiction and mystery, and about 20,000 nonfiction titles, which members can temporarily take on loan from the library. Housed inside a beautiful, historic building, this isn't your mother's library; it's your great-grandmother's. Among the thousands of titles, browsers will encounter busts of legendary authors and literary figures, beautiful architecture, and a classic card catalog dating back to the oldest acquisitions.
Your membership includes free or reduced admission to all literary events including their Meet the Author series and panel discussions, book-borrowing privileges, discounts to various classes and reading groups, and discounts on the writing classes they offer. You also get access to the facility's freshly restored Great Reading Room, where you can enjoy reading and relaxation in a quiet, comforting environment. Get your reading to-go by checking out your chosen book for a few weeks. Stop by the book shop on your way out to put your $10 gift certificate to good use by formally adopting your own cover-bound keepsake.
Most patrons of The Center for Fiction (formerly named Mercantile Library) are too busy reading fiction, writing fiction, or talking about reading and writing fiction to review the center online, but NYC.com gives The Center for Fiction four stars, and three Yelpers give it five stars:
- There's something about the atmosphere at The Center for Fiction that reminds me of a Charles Dickens novel - dark wood, a library of delicious books and a delightful staff. – Katie H., Yelp
- If you're a reader or writer of fiction, you need to check out the Center for Fiction. They offer great literary events, a deeply discounted bookstore and a serious fiction/non-fiction lending library for members. – Jhoanna A., Yelp
The Center for Fiction
In 1820, before the dawn of New York's public library system, a group of city merchants began a circulating collection of books. Now part of The Center for Fiction, that collection has grown to include more than 85,000 titles of classic and contemporary fiction, as well as literary journals and magazines.
Though readers can enjoy these works in the quiet of the eight-story building's second floor reading room, The Center for Fiction is far from a simple library. Authors, critics, and professors encourage guests to embrace reading's social aspect through reading groups on contemporary and classic works. More than 60 yearly literary events also dot the center’s schedule, inviting more than 100 writers to read and discuss their craft. Afterward, intimate, informal receptions afford readers and writers a chance to casually chat about their work or discuss the latest experimental punctuation marks.
Along with stimulating fiction readers, the nonprofit supports fiction writers with a slew of resources, from studios on the building's top floor to fellowship opportunities for emerging New York talent. Evening workshops invite writers of all levels to study MFA-level topics under seasoned faculty and bestselling authors, who cover everything from structuring stories to crafting a stronger narrative voice.
17 E 47th St.
New York, New York 10017Get Directions