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Most of the photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs, 20 to 200 megabytes in size) from the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) Many were digitized by LOC contractors using a Sinar studio back. They are adjusted by your webmaster for contrast and color in Photoshop before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here.

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Light Reading: 1941

Light Reading: 1941

January 21, 1941. "Brooklyn Public Library, Prospect Park Plaza, New York. Popular Room." 5x7 safety negative by Gottscho-Schleisner. View full size.


I've heard of these!

Back in the olden days, it took two days for Kindles to recharge, leaving people stranded with no way to read books - thus, the library was invented. I understand some still survive to this very day.

A little dab'll do ya!

Obviously didn't use enough Brylcreem to keep that cowlick down.


The chairs don't go with the tables at all

Wide Open spaces

I can't believe how much ROOM there is in this place! I work at the public library here in town and we have stuff crammed into our areas. Our town has grown, but because of budget restrictions, we haven't been able to expand much and we are a BUSY library!

Sir, Anthrolopogy is in the East Wing, Three Miles South...

The more I see of this library, the more I think they should have rented bicycles so you could get from one section to the other.

I prefer my libraries smaller and less a tribute to progress, or whatever the heck they were trying to do here.

That's a proper library.

Our local branch remodeled itself into a pale imitation of a Borders bookstore. Low shelves that hold only a fraction of the collection, tiny little tables that are no good for research, a superficial reference section, and only one lonely shelf of sale books. But they're very proud of their new overstuffed chairs. It's trying so hard to be hip and trendy that it's depressing.

The more things change

Looked the same when I was last there in 1984 (except clothing styles).


In library school I practiced pulling the pencil out of my bun and swinging my hair around. I'm saddened that no one has a bun.

Look at the time!

I better get my suit on and head to the library.

THE 100-YEAR-OLD PHOTO BLOG | History in HD is a vintage photo blog featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1950s. The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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