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NY Public Library opens Lou Reed Archive, issuing limited edition library card

Lou Reed NY Public Library Card NYPL
photo: Jonathan Blanc

You may recall the The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts had acquired Lou Reed’s archive featuring original handwritten lyrics, photos, documents, live recordings and more. Having finally finished going through everything and cataloging it, The Lou Reed Archive opens today, and is located in the Music and Recorded Sound Division on the third floor of The Library for the Performing Arts which is in Lincoln Center.

To celebrate, they’re issuing a limited edition Lou Reed Library card, featuring Mick Rock’s iconic photo of Lou. (Picture of the card is above.) They only printed 6000 copies and you can only get at the The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts.

Here’s what you can find in the Lou Reed Archives:

  • Original manuscript, lyrics, poetry and handwritten tai-chi notes
  • Photographs of Reed, including artist prints and inscriptions by the photographers
  • Tour itineraries, agreements, road manager notes and paperwork
  • 600+ hours of live recordings, demos, studio recordings and interviews
  • Reed’s own extensive photography work
  • Album, book, and tour artwork; mock-ups, proofs and match-prints
  • Lou Reed album and concert posters, handbills, programs, and promotional items
  • Lou Reed press for albums, tours, performances, books, and photography exhibits
  • Fan mail
  • Personal collections of books, LPs and 45s
  • The collection documents collaborations, friendships, and relationships with Delmore Schwartz, Andy Warhol, John Cale, Maureen Tucker, Sterling Morrison, Mick Rock, Robert Quine, Sylvia Ramos, Doc Pomus, Václav Havel, Hal Willner, John Zorn, Robert Wilson, Julian Schnabel, and Laurie Anderson.

For more details, check out the NYPL’s guide to visiting the Archive.

To kick things off, there will be a special display centered around Lou’s classic album New York, which celebrates its 30th Anniversary this year, that traces the album’s history from conception to production, using materials from the archive to illustrate the process and show users how to engage with the research collection. That’ll be up through March 28.

There’s also a reception tonight (3/15) in the library’s cafe that’s open to the public. Additionally, there will be a one-day-only listening room on March 28 in the Astor Gallery featuring selections from the Archive’s collection of demos, studio sessions, interviews and live performances. Learn more here.

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