New York Public Library drops plans to renovate 42nd Street library

By Daniel S Levine,

The New York Public Library has decided to drop plans to renovate the iconic 42nd Street location. Instead, trustees said they will rebuild the Mid-Manhattan location on Fifth Avenue.

The plan, known as the Central Library Plan, would have involved cutting the book stacks at the main library’s reading room and would have cost $150 million from New York City. Part of that bill would also have been paid for by selling the Mid-Manhattan location and the Science, Industry and Business Library, according to the New York Times.

However, the plan was highly controversial and even Mayor Bill de Blasio expressed skepticism about it. According to the Wall Street Journal, de Blasio’s predecessor, Michael R. Bloomberg, had approved of the plan and some of de Blasio’s supporters had hoped that the mayor would take back the $150 million commitment. However, WSJ sources say that de Blasio’s administration did not force the library to drop the plan, which was first announced in 2007.

“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,” Tony Marx, library president, told the Times on Wednesday.

Despite the change, the $150 million will still be committed to the library, which hopes to use it to renovate the Fifth Avenue branch. Part of the building will stay open during the renovations.

 
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