NY Public Library Scraps $300 Million Renovation

Wednesday, May 07, 2014

The New York Public Library's main branch currently houses its main research collection, May 7, 2014. (Thalia Beaty)

In an abrupt change, the New York Public library announced it was dropping its controversial plan to move 1.5 million books from its flagship Fifth Avenue branch to New Jersey, and turn the space into a four-level atrium overlooking Bryant Park.

Instead, library president Tony Marx said that they would rebuild the Mid-Manhattan circulating library across the street. "When the facts change, the only right thing to do as a public-serving institution is to take a look with fresh eyes," Marx said in a statement. 

Many library-goers were relieved. "I depend on it and having the materials onsite is important to me," said post-doctoral student Molly Pulda. "If the library is going to be for everybody, that needs to include scholars as well." 

Many researchers had opposed the plan when it was first proposed in 2008.

The library was to get $150 million from the city to help finance the renovations. The New York Times reported that it's still expected to get that money when Mayor Bill de Blasio releases his final budget on Thursday.


More in:

Comments [3]

Daniel from Kips Bay

Reply to Manhattanite: They are building what should be a beautiful library (though only about a quarter of the size) on the Donnell site as part of that big hotel/apartment complex on West 53rd, so there's something. As for 57th Street, sorry, dude, that building's a building, it's essentially done. (Oddly enough I don't mind that one as much.)

All in all, this is the best possible move for scholarly researchers and daily library users alike - Mid-Manhattan could use the TLC and Schwarzman's stacks are maintained, all for a significantly lower cost. Now to make sure the reallocated funding goes to restore some of the branch libraries, particularly the flagships of the outer boroughs (Bronx Library Center, St. George, that sort of thing).

May. 08 2014 09:42 AM
native manhattanite from nyc

I agree w first comment.
I am so happy for NYC for me and future generations
when I first heard the proposal I thought it was a Bloomberg
done deal! But now I believe fully in the ' Power of the
People of New York City" Bravo for all the voices
that were heard!
Now can we ever bring back the beautiful Donnell Library?
NOW about west 57 th street? Can we get the sunlight back?

Bravo for Mid-Manhattan library. It can be a showcase for local library services<3

May. 08 2014 08:09 AM
Michael D. D. White from Brooklyn Heights

Scraping the plan kills another Bloomberg real estate boondoggle and will free up hundreds of millions that can be used for other libraries around the city. And we have been spending far too little on libraries ever since Bloomberg launched his plans to sell libraries off and shrink them as real estate deals. Want to look at some outrageous figures that tell the story of what has been going on? See:

For more on this, see: Tuesday, April 29, 2014, What’s Wrong With These Numbers?: The Baccarat Tower’s $60M Penthouse and NYC’s Library Budget

May. 07 2014 10:02 PM

Leave a Comment

Email addresses are required but never displayed.

Get the WNYC Morning Brief in your inbox.
We'll send you our top 5 stories every day, plus breaking news and weather.


Latest Newscast




WNYC is supported by the Charles H. Revson Foundation: Because a great city needs an informed and engaged public


Supported by