In three days, the New York Public Library is holding a public meeting to discuss the renovation of the main branch at Bryant Park at 42nd Street and the Mid-Manhattan Library. Last year, following extensive public protest, the contentious plan to move the stacks off-site was shelved (no pun intended). Still, the organization The Committee to Save NYPL believes there are still some unanswered questions about the renovations, which they detail here.
Untapped Cities reader @TOPOS_lab has shared with us a cross-section illustration of what the stacks look like underneath Bryant Park. Next time as you sit taking in a summer film at Bryant Park or having lunch on the lawn, remember that 1.5 million books are beneath your feet (and that the park used to have bodies from an old burial ground).
The stacks contain 125 miles of shelving, 88 miles in the seven stack floors of Humanities & Social Science Library and 37 miles in the two-level stack extension under Bryant Park. These self-supporting steel stacks also function as structural elements of the building, buttressing the floor of Rose Reading Room. 5 million books are in an off-site facility in Princeton, New Jersey.
The questions from Save NYPL including clarifying the number of books that can be actual be stored in the proposed lower level of the library, why empty levels of the existing library are not used for storage, the cost to store and transport books from the off-site facilities, whether the NYPL supports the interior landmarking of the Rose Reading Room, and whether public comment on the architectural designs for the renovations be permitted.
Sign up to attend the March 26th Public Meeting, which will be held in the Edna Barnes Salomon Room on the third floor of the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building.
Read about the Top 10 Secrets of the New York Public Library Main Branch.