New York Public Library scraps controversial renovation plan

One of the two lions guarding the entrance of the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building, the main branch of the New York Public Library at Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street. Credit: Wikimedia Commons
One of the two lions guarding the entrance of the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building, the main branch of the New York Public Library at Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street.
Credit: Wikimedia Commons

The New York Public Library announced it is abandoning a controversial renovation plan that would have replaced floors of research material at the city’s flagship Manhattan building with a circulating library.

The original $300 million plan would have moved circulating collections from the system’s Mid-Manhattan Library and Science, Industry and Business Library into the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building, the iconic Beaux-Arts library building at Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street.

That plan has been widely criticized as it would have moved the research materials to a facility in New Jersey, potentially delaying retrieval for scholars. The renovation plan was also the subject of at least three lawsuits and repeated protests by academics and activists.

“When the facts change the only right thing to do as a public-serving institution is to take a look with fresh eyes and see if there is a way to improve the plans and to stay on budget,” New York Public Library president Tony Marx said in a statement.

Under the new plan, the landmark building will still undergo the “most comprehensive renovation” in its more than 100-year history, doubling its exhibition space and opening a new education area, the statement said. The research materials would remain on site at an expanded storage area under nearby Bryant Park.

Marx testified to the New York City Council last September that the renovation was needed to safeguard research collections that “suffered without modern temperature and humidity controls” in the Schwarzman building. The building houses some 15 million items, from books to medieval manuscripts and ancient Japanese scrolls, according to its website.

The New York Public Library system is the fourth largest public or academic library in the United States, behind the Library of Congress, the Boston Public Library and the Harvard Library, according to the American Library Association.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Mayor announces public housing improvements

Mayor Bill de Blasio spoke at the Lincoln Houses in East Harlem on Wednesday, calling for the scaffolding to come down at NYCHA complexes across…

National

Peter Theo Curtis: American released by Syrian militants…

An American writer freed this week from two years in the captivity of insurgents in Syria spoke briefly outside his family's Cambridge home Wednesday of…

Local

Bratton defends 'broken windows' work as NYPD support…

Sixty percent of those polled said they support the "broken windows" theory approach popularized by Commissioner Bratton since his first term in the 1990s.

Local

Transit changes for Labor Day weekend

The MTA is adding additional service Friday for New Yorkers getting out of the city for the long weekend. On Friday, Aug. 29, 27 additional…

Television

'So You Think You Can Dance' recap: Season…

Season 11’s top four dancers gave their final performances before America’s Favorite Dancers are announced next week.

Going Out

Things to do this week in NYC, Aug.…

MUSIC The Electric Zoo Festival Aug. 29-31, 1 p.m. Randall’s Island Park $99-$369, www.electriczoofestival.com The electronic music celebration returns for a fifth year, with 150,000 attendees…

Going Out

5 things to do this weekend in NYC

The Electric Zoo Festival Aug. 29-31, 1 p.m. Randall’s Island Park $99-$369, www.electriczoofestival.com The electronic music celebration returns for a fifth year, with 150,000 attendees expected. David Guetta,…

Music

The Handsome Family on 'True Detective' Emmy and…

When asked to describe The Handsome Family’s latest album, Rennie Sparks channels Rust Cohle of “True Detective.” “A strange problem that humans have is that…

NFL

Mario Manningham on the bubble as Giants play…

Former Super Bowl hero Mario Manningham hopes his second go-around with Big Blue doesn’t end with Saturday’s final cut day.

NFL

Source: Stephen Hill 'faces a battle' to make…

A team source says Stephen Hill, who has battled injuries and poor performances during his first two years, is no lock to make the Jets’ final roster.

Sports

Serena Williams leaving legacy of talented American women…

It seems only a matter of when, not if, Serena Williams will win her 18th career grand slam championship.

College

When are 2014 college football playoffs? (Schedule, date,…

When and where are 2014 college football playoffs? A look at the schedule, date, TV, time for the semi-finals at championship game.

Food

Recipe: Samuel Adams beer-marinated grilled shrimp

Summer calls for two things: a cold beer and light food. Sam Adams' Latitude 48 IPA fairly bursts with citrus notes, making it an ideal marinade…

Wellbeing

Heart trumps brain when it comes to movies…

When you need a good cry, do you reach for the movie that’s “based on a true story”? Science says you’re giving your brain far…

Sex

The 10 types of people you meet online

Does it ever seem like online dating profiles tend to get a little repetitive? It turns out you are not the only one to have…

Home

Labor Day essentials

Whether you’re soaking up the sun on the beach or barbecuing in the park here are some must-haves for your end-of-summer bash.