When Washington exhausted the reference resources in his own collection, he turned to the local library. Washington borrowed his first, and seemingly last, books from the New York Society Library on October 5, 1789. While there were no public, government-funded libraries in the United States at that time, subscription libraries such as the Society Library were numerous and offered borrowing privileges to paying members. During the period that New York City served as the capitol of the country, the Society Library extended its borrowing privileges to members of the new government. Its location was ideal, being housed in Federal Hall, the same building where Congress met.