Compiled by TeamIAnD
Renders & Photography: Courtesy Mecanoo
Read Time: 2 mins
Mecanoo-led renovation will give New Yorkers a completely new Mid-Manhattan Library by end of 2019!
The New York Public Library’s largest circulating branch is set to undergo a transformation that will increase seats, expand services, and add public space. Said to be the largest public-private rehabilitation in NYPL’s history, the refurbishing exercise will create a new, state-of-the-art library that will serve as both a model and catalyst for a rejuvenated library system.
With the branch receiving approx. 1.7 million visitors annually, and circulating approx. 2.0 million items each year, the project is a much-needed one. It is being helmed by architects Francine Houben of Mecanoo and Elizabeth Leber of Beyer Blinder Belle, who have accomplished a thorough study analysing library usage data, interviewing staff, surveying the public, and meeting with community stakeholders to ensure that the new branch will best meet the needs of library patrons.
The renovated branch - located at Fifth Avenue and 40th Street – will have a dramatic, multi-storey wall of bookshelves; an employment skills centre occupying a full floor as well as an adjacent floor providing job-search help and small-business support; a full-floor dedicated to a library for children and a separate library for teens; the only free public roof terrace in Midtown; and hundreds more seats than the current branch.
Key elements of the new Library include:
- 35% more public space
- Capacity for roughly 400,000 books and other circulating materials
- A “Long Room” – the largest element in the new branch – offering five floors of open, browsable book stacks, and two floors of meeting rooms. The shelves will all be located on one side of the building, maximizing capacity and efficiency.
- The only rooftop terrace in Midtown that will be free and open to the public.
- A dedicated business library occupying an entire floor and offering the services and circulating collections of the Science, Industry and Business Library.
- An adult learning centre – one of the largest in the city – which will be adjacent to the business library and provide a seamless continuum of educational opportunities.
- A floor of dedicated space for children and teens; the current Mid-Manhattan does not have spaces for kids and teens.
- Approximately 17,000 square feet of general reading and study space – including seating for almost 1,500 library patrons, an increase of 30 percent over the combined capacity of the current Mid-Manhattan Library and Science, Industry and Business Library.
- Over 11,000-square-feet of multi-purpose space that can be used for classes, events, one-on-one consultations, seminars, and a host of other programs, maximizing efficiency and diversity of public offerings.
Mid-Manhattan will temporarily close for construction in late 2017; with services being largely relocated to a combination of four Midtown buildings: the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building, on Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street; Grand Central Library; the Science, Industry and Business Library; and 53rd Street Library. The Schwarzman Building is scheduled to later become the permanent home for Mid-Manhattan’s Picture Collection.
The project is scheduled for completion by 2019.