New York Public Library scraps drastic renovation plans

Opposition to the renovation included three lawsuits

May 09, 2014 |

The New York Public Library has decided to scrap its drastic renovation plans, which involved remodeling the Stephen A. Schwarzman building, one of its research libraries, and selling the home of its mid-Manhattan Library.

The new plan calls for a less drastic renovation of the Schwarzman building, and keeping the mid-Manhattan branch open.

The original plan would have involved moving the stacks from the Schwarzman building to a storage facility in New Jersey, leaving plenty of space for Norman Foster to create a four-level atrium housing a circulating library, a cafe, and computers.

According to Hyperallergic, critics of this idea voiced concerns about its impact on the library as a research institution. Protests were held, and three lawsuits were filed in order to stop the renovation. In the end, the Library decided to change its plans for multiple reasons, according to the New York Times.

"Various factors contributed to the library’s decision, several trustees said: a study that showed the cost of renovating the main building to be more than expected (the project had originally been estimated at about $300 million); the change in city government; and input from the public," the New York Times reports.

Half the public space will be opened up in the Schwarzman building, according to the revised solution, including new spaces for youth and research/writing areas. In addition, the mid-Manhattan branch will undergo extensive remodeling in stages, so that it can be left open during construction. 

One thing that remains in the Library's plans is the closing of the science library.

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