Reserving a Computer

Library patrons with a valid library card may reserve a computer to use in any Library location.

The New York Public Library offers free access to the Internet as well as a variety of desktop publishing programs & other software applications. A valid library card is required to use a computer in any New York Public Library location.  Cardholders are expected to adhere to The New York Public Library's Guidelines for Reserving a Computer at the bottom of this page.

  • Select the library location using the PC Reservation service.
  • Users may reserve a computer at their neighborhood library using The Library’s online reservation system or through one of the dedicated Reservation & Print Management (RPM) Stations available at all Library locations.  Reservations may be made up to one day in advance.  
  • It is also possible to use a desktop computer without making an advance reservation by logging in at an available workstation.  However, you may or may not be given a full-length session.  Unused session time is non-transferrable.
  • Most Library locations also provide wireless laptops for public use. These laptops are intended for in-library use only and are available on a first come, first served basis. Where available, laptops may be reserved online one day in advance, or requested at the Circulation Desk the day of your visit.  Laptop availability is on a first come, first served basis.
  • The standard session length for both desktop and laptop computers is 45 minutes, with the possibility of a limited number of automatic extensions, subject to demand. 
  • 15-Minute E-Mail Express PCs are available at select locations and cannot be reserved in advance.  These computers are intended for users who do not want or need to wait for a full-length session.  Use of a 15-Minute PC counts as your session for the day.
  • 30-Minute Guest PCs are available on the fourth floor of the Mid-Manhattan Library and cannot be reserved in advance. These computers are intended for visitors who do not have a New York Public Library card or users who do not want a full-length session. Use of a 30-Minute Guest PC counts as your session for the day.
  • Select Library PCs do not require reservations, but may still require the use of a card to access certain resources and/or print.
  • Computers become available 5 minutes after the Library opens, and all sessions end 15 minutes before closing time.

Printing

  • The New York Public Library also offers access to laser printers for computer users.  Printing from the Library’s circulating laptops is also available at select locations.
  • Only paper provided by the Library is to be used in library printers. 
  • Printing may be paid for using a vending card, which may also be used with Library copying machines.
  • Documents sent to RPM Stations will remain available for printing for up to two hours after they have been sent. 
  • Printing is available at a cost of .15 per black & white page. Juvenile & teen users are granted 5 free sheets prior to the .15 per page charge. Color printing is available at SIBL for $1.00 per page.

Guidelines for Reserving a Computer

  • Users must conform to the policies stated here, The New York Public Library's General Rules and Regulations and Policy on Public Use of the Internet when using Library computers.
  • New York Public Library cards are non-transferable. Users must use their own library card to register for an assigned session. The use of a friend or family member's library card is not permitted and may result in the suspension of computer privileges. Your Library card entitles you to one session per day, on a first come, first served, basis. Your 4 digit Personal Identification Number (PIN) must also be provided to make a reservation.
  • Headphones are required for listening to any resource with an audio component. Users may purchase headphones from The Library or use their own
  • Children and young adult users have priority over adults to computers designated for children and young adults. At their discretion, staff may allow adults temporary access to these computers. However, if a child or young adult user needs to use a computer, the adult’s session may not be possible to reschedule on another computer.
  • Privacy screens applied to Library computers are not to be removed at any time. Adults using computers designated for children and teens must adhere to rules regarding computer use by children and teens.
  • Internet and database users must perform their own searches, though staff may provide assistance as time allows. Limited assistance may also be provided with word processing and other desktop applications. The Library offers many classes in technology training for beginners.
  • Library Catalog computers are intended for catalog searching only. With the exception of the Research Libraries, access to nypl.org databases and other resources is available only through Internet-ready computers and laptops.
  • All print jobs must be collected prior to the Library’s closing time. Only paper provided by the Library is to be used in Library printers.
  • Users may leave an unattended computer “locked” for 10 minutes. If a user does not return within 10 minutes, the computer may be made available to another user.
  • Circulating laptops are never to be left unattended.
  • Two onscreen warnings will appear prior to the end of your computer session. Failure to comply with these warnings will result in the loss of your work.
  • A USB-ready memory device or CD-R disk is required to save your work. The Library offers USB flash drives for sale at the Circulation Desk. Please check for availability.
  • At the end of each session, patrons must leave the computer promptly so it can be made available to the next user. Circulating laptops must be returned promptly to their distribution point at the end of each session in the condition they were borrowed.
  • The last computer session of the day ends 15 minutes before The Library closes.
  • The New York Public Library is not responsible for time or data lost due to computer failure.

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