The Library’s third annual tongue-in-cheek campaign advertises a “Black Friday travel deal” with “all-inclusive packages,” “millions of destinations,” and an “all-you-can-read buffet”

The ad, which also includes a special “Escape to NY” package, is free with “the only passport you’ll need,” a library card

The New York Public Library unveiled its third annual Black Friday campaign today, advertising safe, free “imagination vacations” to “millions of destinations” from home with “the only passport you’ll need”: a library card.

The 2020 installment of the tongue-in-cheek campaign— first launched in 2018 to call attention to the best deal of any season: free books, services, and programs from one’s local library—offers the public a “Black Friday travel deal” including “all-inclusive packages,” “millions of destinations,” “free returns,” and an “all-you-can-read buffet.” 

The ad—which was emailed to the Library’s 1.1 million subscribers and ran as a full page print advertisement in The New York Times—also nods to our current circumstances, stating patrons can “travel free from the kitchen to the couch.” 

Additionally, the ad offers a special “Escape to NY” package. At, the Library—which is celebrating its 125th anniversary in 2020—recommends five books that pay tribute to New York, and will release a full list of 125 NYC-focused books it loves for adults, kids, and teens on December 3. 

“The New York Public Library has been a part of New York City—its communities, its people, and its daily life—for 125 years,” said Carrie Welch, the Library’s chief external relations officer. “While we hope the 2020 Black Friday ad provides some much-needed levity and shines a spotlight on the great work public libraries across the country have done all year to support patrons through an unprecedented moment, we particularly want to highlight the City that we love, one that, with much patience and fortitude, we know will heal and recover. The Library will be there to help New Yorkers with whatever they need moving forward—including, occasionally, providing a smile.”  

The 2018 version of the Black Friday ad poked fun at traditional department store display ads, and the 2019 version played off of busy, electronics ads. You can see PDFs of the three at Each ad boosted library card sign-ups and web traffic for the Library.

The print version of the 2020 ad was underwritten by a generous member of the Library’s Board of Trustees who wishes to remain anonymous.

The Black Friday ad campaign is the latest initiative in The New York Public Library’s celebration of its 125th anniversary and its mission to make knowledge, information, and opportunity available to all, regardless of background or circumstance. Since its incorporation on May 23, 1895, the Library has connected all people with the tools they need to be informed, curious members of civic society, and lifelong readers and learners. Today, these tools include books and e-books  but also research databases, workshops, job search help, technology training classes, talks with notable authors and thinkers, and much more.  

The Library’s 125th year has been one of its most challenging, with New York City facing unprecedented challenges during a global pandemic. The Library has responded, offering grab-and-go service at 50 of its locations beginning this summer, and a robust suite of virtual resources, including:

About The New York Public Library

For 125 years, The New York Public Library has been a free provider of education and information for the people of New York and beyond. With 92 locations—including research and branch libraries—throughout the Bronx, Manhattan, and Staten Island, the Library offers free materials, computer access, classes, exhibitions, programming and more to everyone from toddlers to scholars, and has seen record numbers of attendance and circulation in recent years. The New York Public Library receives approximately 16 million visits through its doors annually and millions more around the globe who use its resources at To offer this wide array of free programming, The New York Public Library relies on both public and private funding. Learn more about how to support the Library at