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Music

Oh it’s such a perfect library

New York Public Library issues new cards with The Velvet Underground legend to celebrate the opening of the Lou Reed Archive

Repositories of the world’s knowledge, wisdom and culture, public libraries truly rock. But none is quite as rock’n’roll right now as New York’s, where your visit can be accompanied by the legendary Lou Reed.

New York Public Library is issuing 6,000 new library cards emblazoned with Mick Rock’s iconic photograph of Reed as featured on the Transformer album sleeve, to celebrate the opening of the Lou Reed Archive.

Held by the Library for Performing Arts, the archive documents the history of Reed’s life as a musician, composer, poet, writer, photographer and tai-chi student, through his own extensive papers, photographs, recordings and other materials. It spans his creative life from his 1958 high school band The Shades, to his final performances in 2013.

The strictly limited edition library cards are available only to New York denizens, with new library users able to pick one up for free while existing borrowers can replace their regular card for a nominal fee of $1. The card opens up access to all the collections, services and programmes of the entire New York Public Library system with passes to over 40 cultural organisations and millions of books, magazines, databases, classes and archives. And it looks dead cool too.

A public exhibition marking the 30th anniversary of Reed’s New York album featuring materials from the archive is on display at the library until March 28.

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