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Hello everyone!

I live about an hour from NYC and plan to take a trip to the NYPL's performing arts collection. This question is for anyone familiar with viewing items from the collection - #1 Do you need a NYPL library card to view the collection?

#2 How much of the collection is available for viewing? I am interested in all things Balanchine and many things Suzanne Farrell.

I have accessed the NYPL database online and know of its extensive collection, but I am afraid to take a trip and find only a few items available for viewing. Any feedback from experienced visitors to this library will be appreciated!

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Welcome to BalletTalk, gatto!

You don't need a library card to view tapes at the Dance Collection.

With regards to viewing the Balanchine, there is a significant chunk of the collection freely vieweable, but also a lot that is available by permission only or closed. Most commercial broadcasts including Dance in America and earlier ones are open to view (including copies of very early broadcasts like L'Heure du Concert). Archival recordings usually require permission, which is given from the Balanchine Trust.

Information about each recording's access rules should be included in the information on the catalog viewable online at catnyp.nypl.org At the end of the entry, if there are restrictions, the tape should be marked "permission required" or "closed".

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though the library has recently instituted something called an access card to use for entry to its research collections, but this is NOT a library card and to the best of my knowledge you don't need one; it just makes passing through their checkpoints a little more simple. the collection is open to the public and there's a first time for everyone.

you would need a card to take out books or cds or tapes/dvds in the circulation section, but not to enter or use the research collections.

i don't know how the listings of film holdings are set up on your link to the library but if it's full, it will say what films are 'permission only' or 'closed'.

very many more films are available than are not.

essentially, and there are some exceptions, the 'closed' or 'permission required' films are those put in the collection by individual companies of 'in house' tapes of repertory. i don't think for ex. that there is any show that was telecast here or abroad that is off-limits in the library's users.

i haven't made much use of the coll. since it's reopening etc. however several others here might chime in with tips. otherwise you might call 212 870 1639 (if that's not correct the exchange you reach should direct you to the correct info. no.) the librarians there are usually quite helpful.


ask your questions.

there might even be time for the person on the phone to look up certain films and to tell you if they are off limits or not.

also you might get some tips as to what days or hours are thought to be best to see films and what times tend to be busiest.

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Actually, you do need the ACCESS card. Or so the signs say.

It's very easy to get one, though. You can go to the third floor and fill out an application online on one of their terminals, then have the nice women in the photocopy department make a card for you. All you need is a picture ID with your address on it, or, if your picture ID doesn't have your address, some other thing, like a utility bill, with your correct address.

Apparently this has been required since August or so. Of course, once I got my card and had filled out my most recent video requests (Gelsey Kirkland's "Sixty Minutes" interview from the eighties; Kirkland and Baryshnikov doing "Other Dances" at some gala or other [although Baryshnikov dances the Brick boy's solo from "Dances at a Gathering" for some reason] and some wonderful old clandestine footage of Verdy and Villella in "La Source" from back when, as well as a Kirkland/Baryshnikov "Theme" as well as a Serrano/Marks one) I asked the nice man at the desk if he needed to see my new card (with a very bad hair day memorialized for all time), and he said "No."

Well, go figure.

Anyway, bring some ID with you and it will take about five minutes to get a card.

There's lots of info about it on the NYPL website, including the actual online application form (so you can fill it out even before you leave on your trip).

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