Established in 1977, the Department of Records and Information Services preserves and provides public access to historical and contemporary records and information about New York City government through the Municipal Archives, the Municipal Library, and the Visitor Center. The Municipal Records Management Division operates records storage facilities in two locations with a combined capacity of 700,000 cubic feet, and provides records management services to fifty City agencies, ten courts, and the five district attorneys’ offices. Records services include scheduling, off-site storage and retrieval, and overall guidance on management of records in all media. The Grants Administration Unit assists mayoral agencies in obtaining and managing grants from the New York State Archives’ Local Government Records Management Improvement Fund.
The history of New York City government comes alive in the Visitor and Media Room. Long-hidden treasures from the Archives and Library are featured in ever-changing exhibits that highlight 400 years of City history. In the Center, guests can watch still and moving images on wide-screen television monitors, and view objects, photographs and documents; in the adjoining Media Room they can screen films and listen to audio from the Archives' WNYC collections.
Open to the public, the Municipal Library contains 400,000 unique reports, books, periodicals and documents pertaining to New York City government. Library amenities include computers equipped with Internet access, a reading area with a selection of newspapers and magazines, an online catalog of its holdings, and reference assistance in person or by phone, fax or e-mail.
Open to the public, the Municipal Archives preserves 200,000 cubic feet of original documents, photographs, ledgers, maps, architectural renderings, manuscripts, and moving images. More than 870,000 historical photographs are accessible on-line via the agency website; 10.5 million birth, death and marriage certificates provide essential documentation for family history research; and its world-class mayoral, court and city department collections are unequaled by any other city in the nation.