new-york-public-library-nypl-new-book-train-stephen-a-schwartzman-buiding-research-milstein-stacks-bryant-park-nycPhoto by Jonathan Blanc/NYPL

We’ve come a long way from the plans to completely destroy the stacks under the New York Public Library‘s Stephen A. Schwartzman Building at 42nd Street-Bryant Park. Not only are those 125 miles of stacks staying put, storage is actually being expanded and the Rose Reading Room is about to complete a comprehensive restoration. There will also be a new book train system, developed by the design and architecture firm Gensler and built by the New Jersey-based firm, Teledynamic. It’s intended to deliver research materials from the Milstein Research Stacks–now with a capacity of four million volumes–to the first floor and the Rose Reading Room.



There are a total of 24 cars which can carry 30 pounds each. They’re multi-directional, and can move “seamlessly and automatically transition from horizontal to vertical motion,” the library’s press release states. The train will run on 950 feet of horizontal and vertical track at 75 feet per minute. This comes out to five minutes between the stacks and the Rose Reading Room. The tracks run through eleven levels of the library, are electrically powered and monitored by sensors. The whole project cost $2.6 million.

Before this, research materials were transported on conveyor belts in boxes. The library contends,”The new system is easier to maintain and more efficient.”

Here’s a fun video that shows the train in action:

And Gothamist has a shortened, condensed version of the video:

Some additional photos released by the NYPL, taken by Jonathan Blanc:










Next, check out the Top 10 Secrets of the New York Public Library.


  1. frank pierce says:

    Maybe these guys can help out on the 2nd Ave Subway.

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