The New York Public Library comprises simultaneously a set of scholarly research collections and a network of community libraries, and its intellectual and cultural range is both global and local, while singularly attuned to New York City. That combination lends to the Library an extraordinary richness. It is special also in being historically a privately managed, nonprofit corporation with a public mission, operating with both private and public financing in a century-old, still evolving private-public partnership. The research collections (for reference only, and organized as The Research Libraries, with four major centers) resemble the holdings of the great national and university libraries, and the community circulating libraries (organized as The Branch Libraries) resemble classic American municipal libraries.
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