Opened in 1911, the New York Public Library was the largest marble structure in the United States at that time, and featured two enormous stone lions, sculpted by E. C. Potter, that graced the entrance. The main reading room was the largest one of its kind in the world, ,with ceilings measuring 50 feet high, and 77 feet wide by 295 feet long. It soon became a cultural center of New York City, and one of the most important buildings in America.
At its Centennial Exhibition in 2011, over 250 artifacts from its research collections were featured which included more than 1000 years of history in the fields of "literature, dance, social activism, invention, exploration, religion, history, and innumerable other intellectual disciplines and creative pursuits," as well as artifacts that had once belonged to a number of literary "giants," including William Shakespeare, Charlotte Brontë, and Jorge Luis Borges.
The NYPL shares lists of the books checked out most often at its 91 branches located in the Bronx, Manhattan and Staten Island. Here are the most popular non-fiction books for 2013:
Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead by Sheryl Sandberg
Let's Explore Diabetes with Owls by David Sedaris
My Beloved World by Sonia Sotomayor
Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson
The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business by Charles Duhigg
Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman
Salt, Sugar, Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us by Michael Mos
Bossypants by Tina Fey
Proof of heaven: A Neurosurgeon's Journey into the Afterlife by Eben Alexander, M.D.
Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed
The NYPL also offers opportunities to share the experience in a virtual world:
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