The 125th Street Branch has served East Harlem since 1904. Designed by McKim, Mead and White, this impressive building sits on the eastern end of Harlem's famed 125th Street, between Second and Third Avenues. The library was built with funds from a grant by Andrew Carnegie. A visitor entering the library immediately perceives the distinctive first floor ceiling, which is divided into four vaulting, concave sections. This unique ceiling overlooks the first floor, which contains the library's collections for adults and teenagers. A recently renovated children's room is located on the second floor. Reflecting the cultural diversity of the neighborhood, the 125th Street Branch offers books and magazines in English and Spanish.
In addition, the library boasts a strong African-American Heritage collection. A three-month "spruce up" was completed in 2000 giving the branch new furniture, telecommunications equipment, computers on the first and second floors, and a new children's story hour area.