Plans for a dramatic renovation of New York Public Library’s flagship 42nd Street building have changed significantly, the library announced Wednesday.
“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,” said New York Public Library President Tony Marx in a statement. He added they are now proposing an alternative plan.
The original plan included removing the central research stacks to make way for bookshelves and sitting areas overlooking Bryant Park.
The library is now proposing to renovate the mid-Manhattan library building, which it originally intended to consolidate into the flagship building. The plans for the mid-Manhattan library include an adult education center, a computer lab, and a browsing space for the library’s largest circulating collection.
The flagship building on 42nd Street sees millions of visitors every year and is home to a highly valuable research collection both above and below ground. The underground portion of the research collection is under Bryant Park.
The research stacks in the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building will stay intact and long-closed rooms will be reopened to the public. Exhibition space in the imposing, iconic building will be more than doubled, a new education area will be added, and there will be more space for researchers and writers.
Storage space under Bryant Park will also be expanded to aid in quick access to the library’s research collection.
The library’s announcement about its altered plans followed a special May 5 meeting of the board of trustees and foundation supporters. They had faced serious public opposition to the plan, including litigation.