New York Public Library Midtown Campus

New York, USA

Architecture, Interior, Library

Status: Ongoing
Project Design: 2015 - 2016
Project Realisation: 2017 - 2019
Address: Fifth Avenue at 42nd Street New York, NY, 10018 and Mid-Manhattan Library, 455 5th Avenue, New York, NY 10016
Client: New York Public Library

Programme: Renovation of Mid-Manhattan Library to create capacity for 400,000 books and other circulating materials; with children’s library, teens library, business library, adult learning centre, 1,580 m2 of general reading and study space, 1,020 m2 of multipurpose space, and rooftop terrace; the creation of more public space and amenities at the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building.

The New York Public Library’s Midtown renovation will enhance and unite the full spectrum of offerings available across NYPL, from circulating and research services to business resources and educational programs for all ages. Together, the renovated Mid-Manhattan Library and Stephen A. Schwarzman Building will provide more public library space than is currently available across the Library’s Midtown locations, longer hours, and enhanced access to collections, technology, and staff expertise.

The Mid-Manhattan Library – NYPL’s most heavily used circulating branch – is set to undergo a transformation that will create a new, state-of-the-art library that will serve as both a model and catalyst for a rejuvenated library system. The team of Mecanoo and Beyer Blinder Belle worked for over a year 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 will have a dramatic, multi-storey wall of bookshelves – the Long Room; 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; hundreds more seats than the current branch; and the only free public roof terrace in Midtown.

The Schwarzman Building will undergo work to dramatically increase public space throughout the building by transforming and reopening rooms that were originally designed as public areas but have long been used for staff or storage. This work will begin after the renovation of the Mid-Manhattan Library is underway, and will include expanded spaces for exhibitions and public programs as well as increased facilities for researchers and scholars. 

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