The New York Public Library will name its new, world-class Business Center for publisher Thomas Yoseloff as part of a generous leadership gift from the Anthony A. Yoseloff Foundation, and Nanar and Anthony (Tony) Yoseloff. This most recent gift, announced today at a meeting of The New York Public Library Board of Trustees, names the Business Center for Thomas Yoseloff, Mr. Yoseloff’s grandfather. Mr. Yoseloff has been a Trustee of the New York Public Library since 2016.
Philanthropists Richard and Lynne Pasculano have given The New York Public Library a $15 million gift to support a new adult learning center focused on technology training, career counseling, ESOL classes, and more.
The Pasculano Learning Center—named for the Pasculanos, longtime donors to the Library, in recognition of this latest leadership gift—is on the sixth floor of the Library’s newly-transformed central circulating branch, the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Library (SNFL), on Fifth Avenue and 40th Street.
The Library’s plan to upgrade, renovate, and add public space to the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building continues in 2021, with physical work on critical infrastructure upgrades beginning in late 2020. Specifically, the Library is currently working on upgrades to the building’s cooling tower and HVAC system, as well as improvements to building circulation and flow with the addition of a new elevator and staircase.
Please note: the Schwarzman Building is currently closed to the public to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, and while staff is on-site to manage scan-and-deliver, virtual consultations, and other remote services, the current work will have minimal impact on public service at this time.
The infrastructure improvements are part of the project’s Phase II, which has been ongoing since 2017 and included the 2019 opening of the second-floor Center for Research in the Humanities, an 8,000-square-foot space dedicated to quiet research, work with the Library’s research collections, temporary displays, and collections-related programming. Phase II is currently scheduled to conclude in 2023, and in addition to the infrastructure upgrades will include a new entrance and public plaza on the 40th Street side of the building and a new permanent but rotating exhibition of NYPL research collection treasures in the Library’s upgraded Gottesman Hall.
On July 13, New Yorkers got their first glimpse of The New York Public Library’s totally-renovated central circulating branch The Stavros Niarchos Foundation Library (SNFL), as a portion of the branch’s first floor opened for limited grab-and-go service.
The transformed branch on 40th Street and Fifth Avenue—the Library’s largest circulating branch formerly known as Mid-Manhattan Library and now named for the Stavros Niarchos Foundation because of its generous support—was originally scheduled to open in full to the public on May 15, 2020, but that grand opening is delayed indefinitely as New York City copes with COVID-19.
The new library will eventually offer the public hundreds of thousands of books, spaces for programs and classes, the only free, public rooftop space in the City, new, expansive areas dedicated to children and teens, the Pasculano Learning Center offering career services, English language and literacy classes, media and technology training, and a multimedia studio, and a world-class Business Center featuring the staff, programs, and circulating collections formerly offered at the Science, Industry and Business Library (SIBL) at 188 Madison Avenue.
The Library was designed by architect Francine Houben of Mecanoo with Beyer Blinder Belle, and funded by the City and with a generous gift from The Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF) in line with SNF’s long standing and extensive commitment to the NYPL and libraries worldwide.
On October 21, 2019, The New York Public Library opened its new Center for Research in the Humanities, a nine-room space dedicated to quiet research, work with the Library’s research collections, temporary displays, and collections-related programming.
The over 8,000-square-foot Center—located on the second floor of the iconic Stephen A. Schwarzman Building and designed by architects Mecanoo and Beyer Blinder Belle—has 56 seats exclusively for use by authors, scholars, students, and others engaged in extensive research, doubling the number of seats available in the building for that purpose. At opening, 30 scholars had already applied to work in the Center.
In addition, the Center—created from space long used primarily for staff and storage—also includes revamped spaces for staff, short-term displays, class visits, and public programs, lectures, and panels related to research collections. Continue reading “Center for Research in the Humanities Opens at 42nd Street Library”
The city’s Landmarks Preservation Commission today approved The New York Public Library’s proposal to improve flow, circulation, and visitor experience of its South Court space while preserving the building’s historical and architectural integrity. The work will create greater access to the Library’s collections and exhibitions, particularly the Treasures exhibition opening in Gottesman Hall next year.
In a May 16 letter to the research community, the Library’s Andrew W. Mellon Director William Kelly shared the following update on the institution’s growing research collection and plans for developing appropriate storage. The update includes an update on the status of the historic stacks inside the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building.
Collections Storage Plan
The New York Public Library, like every active research library, is constantly evaluating its long-term preservation and storage needs, both in terms of capacity and conditions. As part of this work, the Library undertook two recently concluded, interconnected studies. The first —conducted by architectural firms Mecanoo and Beyer Blinder Belle—identified options for renovating the seven stories of 108-year-old shelves located in the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building. The second evaluated the Library’s overall capacity needs (for a collection of over 40 million items and approximately 10 million research books).
Guided by these studies, the Library has framed a multi-pronged approach to increasing capacity and improving preservation conditions for our growing research collections.
The Historic Stacks
In their current state, the stacks can no longer serve as a repository for the Library’s collections; their environment is woefully inadequate to that task. The Time-Weighted Preservation Index, an industry-wide metric used to assess the quality of storage facilities, scores the stacks between 35 and 40, a level well below acceptable limits. By way of comparison, ReCAP, the Library’s state-of-the-art, off-site storage facility, registers 158.
The stacks study (see Executive Summary and full report) evaluated a variety of possible uses of the space. Based on current need and priority, the Library decided to only consider options that would make the space appropriate for research collections storage. The study concluded that the approximate cost of retrofitting the space—creating an appropriate environment for general and special collections—would be $200 million. A more modest option, one which would not accommodate special collections or offer flexibility for book storage, would, at current construction prices, cost $80 million dollars.
The concomitant capacity study focused on accommodating at least 10 years of collections growth. To that end, the study identified two potential approaches. The first focused on the Milstein Research Stacks (the storage facility located under Bryant Park), suggesting the refurbishment of a dedicated special collections space, and the development of new protocols to enhance delivery efficiencies. We currently satisfy over 90% of research requests at the 42nd Street Library with materials held on site; these improvements will sustain our ability to meet that goal.
The second recommendation involved building new space at ReCAP, together with our partners Columbia, Harvard, and Princeton universities. The study noted that the preservation environment there is far superior to any on-site storage option; estimates suggest that the lifespan of books held there is four to five times longer than that of volumes maintained in conventional library circumstance. Further, ReCAP’s shared collection program provides NYPL patrons with direct access to the Columbia and Princeton collections held there. In the near future, Havard’s off-site collections will be available as well. Noted as well were ReCAP’s collaborative funding model, which significantly reduces construction and maintenance costs, and its scanning services and next-day delivery capability, which support researchers from all four of the Library’s research centers. The total cost of the Milstein renovation and the ReCAP expansion was estimated at $15 million.
Confronted with these alternatives, and attentive to the radical fluidity of publishing and storage technologies, the Library has decided to pursue the Milstein/ReCAP option. In doing so, it ensures a 10-year window of collection growth, optimizes storage environments, and protects the Library’s fiscal wellbeing. The stacks will be maintained as-is, providing future flexibility.
The city’s Landmarks Preservation Commission today approved The New York Public Library’s proposal to add a new public entrance and plaza on the 40th Street side of its iconic Stephen A. Schwarzman Building.
The Commission approved the plan, which also included a much-needed wider loading dock, at a public hearing; work on the new entrance and plaza—named for Library Trustee and former Board Chair Marshall Rose—will begin in 2020, and is expected to be complete in 2021.
“This project to add a public entrance and terrace to 40th Street will better connect our historic building to the community, make the library’s collections, exhibitions and programs more welcoming and accessible to the public, improve circulation for people and books throughout the building, and increase outdoor public space,” said New York Public Library Chief Operating Officer Iris Weinshall at the hearing. “All of this work is crucial for better serving the public now and in the future. As such, we are excited about this project.”
The approved exterior changes—subject to the city’s landmarks law—are part of an overall master plan for the library that will increase public space, add exhibition spaces, and double the number of seats in the building specifically earmarked for quiet, long-term research and collections use. The plan—designed by architects Mecanoo and Beyer Blinder Belle and paid for with private funds—will also add a new education center, where students will learn how to work with primary sources, and be taught the importance of research and fact-finding.
No current public reading rooms will be altered.
The New York Public Library will name a new public plaza at its iconic midtown location after Trustee and former Board Chair Marshall Rose, whose unwavering devotion and transformative vision has strengthened the Library, Bryant Park, and New York City.
At its annual meeting this week, the Library’s Board of Trustees approved a resolution to name the new 40th Street space “Marshall Rose Plaza,” honoring the significant foundational contributions that Rose has made to the institution. Rose, a tireless advocate for the Library over many decades, has played a key role in many critical capital projects, including the restoration of the Rose Main Reading Room, the development of the Milstein Research Stacks, and renovations to the Library for the Performing Arts, the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, and many neighborhood branches. This work has prepared the Library to best serve New Yorkers now and in the future.
Rose was also instrumental in the revitalization of Bryant Park; when taken together, the park and adjacent central library building create a beloved oasis in the heart of midtown.
The new plaza will be built along with a new public entrance on the 40th Street side of the Library’s iconic Stephen A. Schwarzman Building on Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street. The plaza project—privately funded with a lead gift from New York Public Library Trustee Richard Cohen—is expected to be complete in 2021.
“Marshall Rose has been a staunch advocate and innovative leader for the Library, reaffirming its essential role in the civic and educational life of New York City,” said New York Public Library President Anthony W. Marx. “His devotion and dedication to the Library’s mission has made the institution—and the city— much stronger. It is appropriate, therefore, that as we once again prepare our iconic building for the future, we honor Marshall Rose and his visionary leadership.”
During the discussion around the naming at the Board meeting, Library Trustee Bobby Liberman added, “I would argue that [Marshall] has been NYPL’s greatest resource over the last 30 years and it is so appropriate that the Marshall Rose Plaza will honor this wonderful man.”
The Midtown Renovation project is moving forward as expected, with work beginning in July to expand and improve areas for research and quiet study at the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building. The Library shared plans for the building in late 2017, and—based on feedback from the public and staff—prioritized the construction of a second floor “scholar center” that will include a mix of quiet study spaces, seminar spaces, and reading rooms for researchers. The work—which will also include upgrades to power, data, and lighting, the restoration of historical features, and the replacement of non-original elements with historically sympathetic materials—will begin on July 16.
Construction will take place in a central corridor on the second floor that currently includes staff spaces, a small number of public tables, and the Shoichi Noma Reading Room. The corridor will be closed until September 2019 to accommodate the construction, most of which will take place when the building is closed to the public.
During this temporary situation, the Library will add public seats to the Salomon Room, and Shoichi Noma researchers will be moved to the Wertheim Study.
The next phase, which will start next year, will bring improvements to all of the building’s public restrooms.