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50 Specialty Libraries of New York: Second Stop – The Kristine Mann Library

By: , Posted on: April 12, 2016

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Everyone knows about the New York Public Library and the two lions that guard it. Most New Yorkers, even New York librarians, do not know that the city contains many dozens of libraries outside of that system (and the equivalent systems in Queens and Brooklyn) that can be used by anyone with an interest.

There is a library devoted to magic, a dog library run by the American Kennel Club, a German language library, a library devoted to the works of Carl Jung, and a few subscription libraries that are centuries old and still going.

Most of them are in Manhattan, but there are wonderful surprises in the outer boroughs.

More Libraries: The NY County Courts Public Access Law Library

My new book Fifty Specialty Libraries of New York: From Botany to Magic,, marks the occasion of my 50th year of working in libraries, and my 25th year of living in New York. I visited 50 of these libraries, and in each case, access is described, and an interview with the director or supervisor is presented. This book is a unique information source for all those librarians and researchers interested in the rich cultural heritage of New York’s libraries.

In this series of three articles, I’ll highlight three of my visits:kristine mann 1

  • NY County Courts Public Access Law Library
  • The Kristine Mann Library
  • Municipal Library

The Kristine Mann Library

28 East 39th Street, New York, NY

“Show me a sane man and I’ll cure him for you.” — Carl Gustav Jung

Kristine Mann library is devoted to the study of Carl Gustav Jung (1875-1961) , a Swiss psychologist, who, early in his career became a favored protege of Sigmund Freud. The two men had a major falling out, substantially over Freud’s insistence that libido is the most important factor in human behavior. Jung went on to found his own school, which, like Freud, paid attention to dream interpretation. The library’s namesake, Kristine Mann (1873-1945), was a psychiatrist who studied under Jung in the early 1920s, and later went on to become one of the co-founders of the Analytical Psychology Club of New York. At her death in 1945, she willed her collection to the group, founding the current library, which has been housed in its current location for about 30 years.


The library is divided into two smallish rooms. The south room that one first enters contains the service desk, stacks of books, and a number of Jung-inspired paintings, as well as the card catalog, which has been generally supplanted by an online catalog. A curtain separates this room from the west room, which contains more books, considerable sculpture, and the copy machine. In a visit late on a Thursday night, the west room was generating the most activity. Just before closing time, there were several users, who seemed to be graduate students, in earnest contemplation, while the copy machine was in constant use.

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The assistant librarian, supplied some of the basic facts. The Kristine Mann library has been in existence since 1945, and in its current midtown location since 1980. The collection contains about ten thousand titles. Anyone can come in to use the collection, but to borrow books you must join the library for a fifty dollar annual fee. He stressed that the collection included a considerable number of titles in subjects that Jung considered to be important, such as Eastern religions, mythology and dream interpretation.

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I noticed that the arrangement of the books seemed to be following some sort of home-made system with categories such as Asia or Dream. It was confirmed that this is the case.

The librarian also said that it is hard to pin down the average user of the library, although authors and students were a major factor. Also, he pointed out that the library is affiliated with the New York Jung Center, which brings in number of prospective Jungian analysts, who are interested in the library’s resources.

About the Author:

Terry Ballard is the author of two previous books and more than 70 articles in the field of library science, and is the winner of two national writing awards. Since earning his MLS in 1989 from the University of Arizona, he has worked as an academic systems librarian in New York and Connecticut. He is currently adjunct Special Projects Librarian at the College of New Rochelle in Westchester County, New York. He has presented at conferences such as Computers in Libraries, The Third International Conference on the Book in Oxford, and the American Library Association. He is also the author of Google this: Putting Google and other social media sites to work for your library.

fifty specialty libraries of new york

If you would like to purchase a copy of Fifty Specialty Libraries of New York: From Botany to Magic, visit the Elsevier Store. For a limited time, the book is available at up to 30% off the list price and free global shipping. Enter discount code STC215 at checkout to receive your discount.

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