NYC’s libraries just released special edition hip-hop library cards

NYPL’s card will look like a colorful cassette from 1983.

Melissa Kravitz Hoeffner
New York Public Library hip-hop card
Photograph: Jonathan Blanc, courtesy of the New York Public Library

Libraries may be known for being quiet, but the New York Public Library and Queens Public Library are celebrating hip-hop in New York City in a loud and colorful way by dropping new, retro-themed library cards.

Starting on July 14, patrons can get a special edition hip-hop library card to celebrate 50 years of hip-hop in its birthplace, New York City. The card is styled to look like a cassette case, the soundtrack to the 1983 film Wild Style, known as the first movie dedicated to hip-hop.

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The soundtrack to the Charlie Ahearn-directed film was chosen because Harlem's Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture's Moving Image and Recorded Sound Division has the original cassette in its collection, plus extensive key archives related to the birth and legacy of hip-hop.

All New York City residents can apply for a digital library card online, free of cost, and pick up their cards at an NYPL branch location throughout Manhattan and the Bronx. Library card applications can also be processed in person.

Queens residents can also get a special edition hip-hop Queens Library Card, with art by legendary streetwear trailblazers, the Shirt Kings. Created in 1986 from a booth at the Colosseum Mall in Jamaica, Queens, the Shirt Kings’ graffiti-inspired custom clothing designs attracted hip-hop stars and fans alike and now adorn a special edition QPL card, also available starting July 14.

50 years of hip-hop Queens library card
Photograph: courtesy of Queens Public Library

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