Centro Library provides access to over 14,000 books, 2,550 dissertations and masters theses, over 500 titles of historical newspapers and periodicals on 3,700 reels of microfilm, 600 audio recordings, 514 videos and DVD’s containing information by and about Puerto Ricans, and 21.3 linear feet of Vertical Files encompassing a variety of subjects.
A major strength of the Library collection is the history of Puerto Ricans in the United States, particularly in New York and the Northeast region, and also in all the areas of the humanities, the social sciences and the arts. The library, although dedicated to the Puerto Rican experience, also acquires selected materials related to other Latino communities in the United States.
The Centro Library & Archives is the only archival repository nationwide exclusively devoted to documenting the Puerto Rican communities living in the United States. Our holdings include over 300 collections of personal papers and organizational records, including approximately 100,000 photographs, 4,000 audio and video recordings, and 2,000 art posters.
Our collections consist of personal papers from prominent Puerto Rican artists, elected officials, social activists, writers, as well as the records of community-based organizations. Our largest collection, the Offices of the Government of Puerto Rico in the United States (OGPRUS) Records, measures approximately 2,900 cubic feet and contains an extraordinary amount of information regarding Puerto Rican migrants and the government institutions established to assist them. The collections date from the 1890s to the present, and document Puerto Rican communities in the Northeast, Midwest, Florida, California and Hawaii. Highlights of the collection include Antonia Pantoja’s Presidential Medal of Freedom (1996) and Helen Rodríguez Trias’ Presidential Citizens Medal (2001).
Library and Archives Access Policy
The Centro Library and Archives is open to the general public. We are located on the First Floor of the Hunter College Silberman School of Social Work Building (2180 Third Avenue at 119th Street in El Barrio). Users wishing to enter the Centro Library and Archives must bring a photo ID and check-in at the Visitor’s Center. CUNY staff and students should use their CUNY identification when visiting our facility.
The Centro Library and Archives collection is non-circulating; however, limited loans of audiovisual holdings are available to educators.
Location and Hours
The Lois V. and Samuel J. Silberman School of Social Work
2180 Third Avenue at 119th Street, 1st Floor, Room 120
New York, NY 10035
Hours: Monday – Friday from 10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Closed on Fridays in the summer
Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Birthday (Third Monday in February)
Lincoln’s Birthday (February 12)
President’s Day (Third Monday in January)
Memorial Day (Last Monday in May)
Independence Day July 4
Labor Day (First Monday in September)
Columbus Day (Second Monday in October)
Thanksgiving Holidays (Fourth Thursday in November, Friday following)
Christmas Holidays (December 24 and 25)
New Year’s Holidays (December 31, January 1)
Library & Archives Reference Services: 212-396-7874
If you need to view an archival collection please contact Reference Services and ask to speak with one of archivists. Please be prepared to discuss your research interests and needs so that the archivist may best assist you.
Research Assistance & Orientations:
Library and Archives staff provide individual assistance and group orientations about our collections and services in-person, via e-mail, and over the phone (212) 396-7874.
Library collection - Over 14,000 volumes dedicated to Puerto Rican studies.
Microfilm collection - Over 3,000 reels of microfilm containing archival materials, newspapers, and other periodicals including issues of La Prensa dating back to 1917.
Multi-Disciplinary Databases - Onsite access to a multitude of databases in the CUNY system including CONUCO (Index of Puerto Rican serial publications) and the HAPI (Hispanic American Periodicals Index).
Library and Archives Services:
Public access to Wi-Fi.
Audio video terminal – VHS and DVD decks for viewing Centro’s AV holdings.
Microfilm Scanners – Visitors can save images from microfilm to external USB storage devices.
Photocopier - $.10 for Hunter College Students, faculty, staff, and $.20 for non-Hunter visitors.
The Centro Library & Archives’ strengths are principally in the area of social history, although there are also important holdings in culture and the arts. The following guidelines help inform the collection development process:
- Collections must relate to our mission, which is to document all aspects of Puerto Rican history and culture of particular significance to the experience primarily in New York but also throughout the U.S.
- Collections must be mostly original, authentic-that is, not available anywhere else-and can be from any time period.
- Collections may be in all formats and may be created by individuals as well as organizations.
- Collections are received as donations only, that is, as gifts with all rights transferred to the Centro Library & Archives.
- To this end, we accept personal papers, organizational records, non-print materials and other types of relevant documents that chronicle the rich history of our community. Centro does not collect physical artifacts, such as awards or framed photos.
- There is no need to arrange or rearrange materials prior to making a donation. However, the identification of unmarked materials (lightly and in pencil) or any written historical or biographical information relevant to the collection that you can provide can be helpful to our processing work.
- Centro Library & Archives do not provide financial appraisals.