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Budget, Education & City Services

New York Public Library proposed renovation of the Central Library Building

At the monthly meeting of Community Board Five on Thursday, January 17, 2013, the Board passed the following resolution by a vote of 33 in favor; 1 opposed; 1 abstaining; 1 present not entitled to vote:

WHEREAS, Community Board Five prioritizes library services as among the most vital needs in our district; and

WHEREAS, Community Board Five is fully cognizant of the varied uses of our libraries and values the ability of the NYPL to cater to distinct needs in this time of fiscal austerity; and

WHEREAS, The NYPL proposes a Central Library Plan that would consolidate two branches – The Mid-Manhattan Branch, and the Science Industry and Business Library (SIBL), both located in CB5, into the Main Library and

WHEREAS, The Central Library Plan (CLP) will relocate most of the books currently stored under the Rose Main Reading Room to state-of-the-art, temperature and humidity controlled facilities below Bryant Park and in Princeton, NJ. Books will be barcoded, and those stored in NJ will be brought to the Rose Main Reading Room within 24 hours upon request; and

WHEREAS, With this newly-available space, the CLP would more than double the publically-accessible square footage in the NYPL's Main building on 42nd St and 5th Avenue, creating a 100,00 sq ft circulating library by transferring the resources of the 40th St. Mid-Manhattan Branch and the 34th St. Science, Industry and Business Library (SIBL); and

WHEREAS, The CLP's consolidation of the two circulating branches will enable the NYPL to secure approximately $200 million through the sale of the Mid-Manhattan and SIBL properties; and

WHEREAS, The CLP consolidation will generate up to $15 million annually for NYPL to spend on librarians, curators, books and more across the system at a time of declining assistance; and

WHEREAS, The CLP will create a central library, designed by Architect Norman Foster,  open seven days a week (until 11 pm most nights) with both circulating and research functions under one roof; and

WHEREAS, The CLP will double the space open to the public at the Main Library located on 42nd St., opening 66 percent of our landmark building to the public; and

WHEREAS, The CLP will create a new central branch with access to 3.5 million books on site, periodicals, computers, programming spaces, job search resources and classrooms to replace a physically-distressed Mid-Manhattan branch and a underutilized SIBL; and

WHEREAS, The CLP will cause no closure of either circulating or research libraries; and

WHEREAS, The CLP will better protect the core of the NYPL's research collections for future generations of scholars, moving the materials from the obsolete shelving under the Rose Main Reading Room, that does not meet fire codes, and where books are at risk of decay from heat, light and humidity into a state-of-the-art facilities under Bryant Park and in Princeton, NJ; and

WHEREAS, The CLP will create an expanded children's room as well as a new teen center; and

WHEREAS, The CLP will allow the public to see the 101-year-old stack shelves for the first time in history, reusing some of them in the new circulating library; and

WHEREAS, The CLP opens more dedicated spaces for scholars and writers on the second floor, allowing for the harmonious cohabitation of diverse populations (students, school age children, tourists, scholars, general population) with diverse needs; and

WHEREAS, Historically, the Main Library was built, under the impulsion of Andrew Carnegie, as a circulating library, as well as a research library; and

WHEREAS, The CLP will preserve all of the building's historic public spaces as they are now, including the Rose Main Reading Room and the Astor Hall; and

WHEREAS, The CLP has been reviewed carefully by the Landmarks Committee of Community Board Five, which voted in favor of its landmarks and architectural component; and

WHEREAS, CB5 wants to be appraised of the progress made by the applicant on design and the NYPL has agreed to present the next iteration of the plans, therefore be it

RESOLVED, Manhattan Community Board Five strongly supports the implementation of the New York Public Library's Central Library Plan.  

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