New Yorkers breathed a collective sigh of relief yesterday as the New York Public Library withdrew its intentions for a remodel of the flagship location at 42nd Street. The Central Library Plan (CLP), adopted during the Bloomberg administration, intended to remove the book stacks under the main reading room and change the existing catalog. Library president Tony Marx abandoned these renovations after backlash from, well, everybody: Mayor Bill de Blasio, library trustees, and powerful voices from literature and academia who claimed changing the reading selection would compromise the landmark's reputation as a hub for research and scholarship. Additionally, a study showed the remodel would cost more than originally estimated — a cool $300 million.
The CLP was slated to receive $150 million from the city of New York, plus profits from the planned sale of the Mid-Manhattan Library on 40th street. Under the revised plan, however, the millions will still go to the NYPL, but will be used to restore the Mid-Manhattan Library instead. The Science, Industry, and Business Library on Fifth Avenue, however, will be sold or leased. As for the flagship, the books will stay on site (though some will be moved to storage underneath Bryant Park) and the stacks will remain.
Marx's CLP was aimed at preparing for a digital future, making more space for computer access. Although he claims the stacks are unworkable (due to lack of temperature control) he supports the decision to cancel the CLP. “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,” Marx told The New York Times on Wednesday.
We're glad to see an NYC landmark remaining as we've known it. Plus, if de Blasio didn't put the kibosh on those renovation plans, you know the die-hard Sex And The City fans would've petitioned against them anyway. (The New York Times)