A Manhattan library transformed

by | Jul 15, 2021 | Heritage Spaces, Newsfeed

On June 1, 2021, The New York Public Library officially opened its completely renovated central circulating library, the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Library (SNFL). The $200 million renovation includes eight floors of important amenities serving all ages. Using creativity and ingenuity to preserve and breathe new life into a historic New York City building, the design team behind the transformation was dedicated to creating a beautiful, light-filled, inspiring central circulating library with a classic, timeless, functional design, as well as elements that speak to the building’s history and complementary relationship to the historic Stephen A. Schwarzman Building.

Key elements of the new 180,000-square-foot library include:

• Capacity for approximately 400,000 books and other materials.

• A “Long Room” (see video below) offering five levels of open, browsable book stacks fronting on a dramatic, 42-foot-high atrium.

• The only free, publicly accessible rooftop terrace in Midtown.

• The 21,000-square-foot Thomas Yoseloff Business Center, providing the services and circulating collections of the former Science, Industry and Business Library.

• The 20,000-square-foot Pasculano Learning Center—the Library’s largest adult learning center.

• The new Children’s Center and Teen Center, with computers, books, programming spaces, podcasting studios, reading nooks (for any children, but specifically designed as quiet spaces for children with unique needs), and a book sorter that allows kids to return their books through a slot and watch as a conveyor belt sorts them into appropriate bins to be returned to the shelves.

• Approximately 44,000 square feet of open, general public library space, including the Marron Family Circulating Collections and double the previous seating.

The library on 40th Street and Fifth Avenue, formerly named the Mid-Manhattan Library, was renovated—and completely transformed—with generous support from New York City and a landmark $55 million grant from the Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF), the second largest one-time individual gift in NYPL’s 126-year history. The building’s modern interior and overall inspiring design is by Dutch architect Francine Houben, of Mecanoo architects, along with the unique expertise of renowned New York City–based firm Beyer Blinder Belle.

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