A sizable archive of Lou Reed's personal effects, recordings, and business papers opened up today at The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts. The public is free to browse through a permanent collection belonging to the late musician, comprised of 300 linear feet of paper records, and approximately 3,600 audio files and 1,300 video recordings—and that includes rare demos and home recordings from his time with the band The Velvet Underground and beyond.

Jonathan Haim, curator of music and recorded sound at NYPL, tells Gothamist that the library acquired the collection several years ago from musician Laurie Anderson, who was married to the late Reed. While the archive has plenty of Reed's personal objects, including his photographs, glasses, and high school yearbooks, the bulk of the collection is culled from Sister Ray Enterprises, his business.

"I like to tell people that in essence this is, in fact, a collection of a rock and roll business," Haim says. "I think seeing how an artist who has a certain type of presence in the public actually makes that work and is thoughtful about how things will work in the future, and mindful of things that didn't work in the past...that'll be a new experience for people."

Sifting through ephemera such as international tour schedules, licensing agreements, legal letters, and riders, as well as seeing the physical production of an album like New York, demystifies the practical processes that accompany musicianship beyond delivering mind-blowing performances night after night. As it stands, few archives are publicly available that illustrate the business of music-making in such minute detail. One especially fun item within Reed's office haul is a thick address book in which he took extensive notes about businesses he frequented, with the likes of Cyndi Lauper, Lenny Kravitz, and Peter Gabriel making an appearance.

Audiophiles can also hear rare recordings at the library. One highlight is a 1965 reel of original songs that Reed sent to himself and kept sealed throughout his entire life, as well as Reed reading poetry and trying out acoustic demos, where he often sounded out songs in between takes, spanning from the 1960's through the 2010's. Additionally, Haim says that there's also a number of mysterious audio pieces in the collection that people haven't "quite figured out what they are yet." In the future, the library and Anderson hope to establish a dedicated listening room, replete with a formidable sound system, where people can come in and listen to this archival material sans headphones.

Researchers and fans interested in seeing the archive have to have a library card to access it—if you don't, perhaps you can snag one of the library's limited-edition Lou Reed library cards, featuring the photograph that Mick Rock took of him that became part of the Transformer album cover. Once you're there, you come and look through the finding aid, which describes what's in each section of the collection, to see what part of it you're interested in checking out. You then fill out a request slip, and wait until you can peruse the materials in the reading room on-site.

"Certainly it’s fun to go in and look at objects that have the sort of tactile relationship with Lou Reed himself, to see his own personal writings and photographs and experience things as you might as a fan," Haim says. "Our hope and intent here is that we can embrace that but also does some serious study and research and understand the world in which he lived a little better."

The Lou Reed Archive is located at The New York Public Library For the Performing Arts, located in the Lincoln Center, at 40 Lincoln Center Plaza (65th Street and Columbus Ave).