"The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture is a national research library devoted to collecting, preserving and providing access to resources documenting the experiences of peoples of African descent throughout the world. The Center's collections first won international acclaim in 1926 when the personal collection of the distinguished Puerto Rican-born Black scholar and bibliophile, Arturo Alfonso Schomburg, was added to the Division of Negro Literature, History and Prints of the 135th Street Branch of The New York Public Library. Schomburg served as curator from 1932 until his death in 1938. Renamed in his honor in 1940, the collection grew steadily through the years. In 1972 it was designated as one of The Research Libraries of The New York Public Library and became the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture. Today, the Schomburg Center contains over 10,000,000 items and provides services and programs for constituents from the United States and abroad".
The Center provides access to and professional reference assistance in the use of its collections to the scholarly community and the general public through five research divisions, each managing materials in specific formats but with broad subject focus. The Center's collections include art objects, audio and video tapes, books, manuscripts, motion picture films, newspapers, periodicals, photographs, prints, recorded music discs and sheet music.