On Saturday, May 15, NYPL President Dr. Paul LeClerc will be at the newly-renovated Highbridge branch at 178 West 168 Street (at Woodycrest Avenue) in The Bronx for the beloved library's grand opening. The branch has been totally redone, and happy members of the community will be there to discuss how important the free programming, Internet access and materials are to their every-day lives. Considering that the NYPL is facing a $37 million city budget cut that could shutter 10 branches, the importance of libraries in communities like High Bridge across this city is more relevant than ever. Several elected officials will also be in attendance. The ceremony starts at 10 a.m. - please contact PR Manager Angela Montefinise at 212-592-7506 or at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information or to RSVP.
Below is the press release with basic information:
New York, NY – An old friend with an exciting new and improved look is back! The recently renovated High Bridge Library, one of the New York Public Library’s oldest and most cherished branches, will hold its grand opening celebration on Saturday, May 15 at 10:00 a.m. The public is invited to celebrate the reopening with a morning ceremony and a day of free events for the entire family. The Library is located at 78 West 168th Street between Shakespeare and Woodycrest Avenues in the Bronx.
“The reopening of this historic library marks the beginning of an exciting new era for the residents of Highbridge,” said Paul LeClerc, President of the New York Public Library. “For over 100 years the High Bridge Library has been a consistent and important resource in this neighborhood. While there have been many changes in the community over time the mission of the library to provide the best free resources possible remains the same. We are deeply grateful to our elected officials, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, City Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn, City Council Member Helen D. Foster, and Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. for their support of the branch’s construction. The Library also acknowledges the support of United States Congressman Jose E. Serrano, New York State Senator Jose M. Serrano, and New York State Assemblywoman Vanessa L. Gibson. We also greatly appreciate the generous private funding provided by The Starr Foundation.”
Designed by LiRo Architects + Planners, P.C., the $7.4 million renovation has expanded and reconfigured the library to create open and welcoming spaces for the community. In total 2,100 square-feet has been added to the branch. The roof has been raised and light floods the interior from glass walls extending to the new roof. A brand new community room can be found in an expansion to the southeast corner of the existing building. The adult and children’s reading rooms have also been expanded and converted.
The Library offers collections of 34,000 items, 36 public access computers including laptops, and wireless service for the public. One of the unique features in the branch is the whimsical three dimensional sculpture of a tree that presides over the story area of the children’s room. Designed and crafted by Sterling McMurrin, the tree is a creation of laminated wood boards formed into a trunk, while the canopy is a series of stretched fabric panels suspended from the ceiling overhead.
The High Bridge Library has been an important part of the cultural life of the High Bridge community since 1901, when it was chartered as the High Bridge Free Library and operated out of quarters in Realty Hall on Merriam and Ogden Avenues. In 1907, the “free library” was incorporated into The New York Public Library’s Branch System and one year later it opened on the site of its current location. The High Bridge Library was the fourth branch to be established in the Bronx.
“Expanding literacy, arts and education to any neighborhood in New York City is an issue we at the City Council care a great deal about,” said Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn. “The addition of the library to the Bronx is a welcome new space that will serve thousands. Having access to these materials is essential to the growth of our neighborhoods.”
“The residents of Highbridge have anxiously awaited the grand opening of the newly renovated library,” said City Council Member Helen D. Foster. “From young to old, this opening is a much anticipated event. I am happy that I was able to allocate funds to the renovation. This community deserves a state of the art library with computers, reading rooms and ample space for children, teens, and adults. And, the community has finally received it! I look forward to using the High Bridge Library myself.”
“The much anticipated reopening of the High Bridge Library is a wonderful addition to the community and will be a great asset for local residents,” said Assemblywoman Vanessa L. Gibson. “Through the addition of 2,100 square feet of new space this library has been expanded to meet the growing needs of the Highbridge community and, with 36 public computers that have internet access, it will be a beacon of educational and recreational growth in the community.”
“This is a great day for the Bronx,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. “The Highbridge community and the entire borough have been waiting for this library to reopen, more functional and modern, and thankfully that day has arrived. This beautifully renovated library will help us feed the educational and recreational needs of our residents. I am glad to have been able to work with The New York Public Library to make this reopening a reality.”
“Our community is so pleased to have the High Bridge Library back open and we are excited about the renovations that took place,” said Congressman José E. Serrano. “I was happy to put my support behind this project because I know just how important this library is to our community. From its new community room to its great book and periodical collection, I know that this branch will be quite popular as it always has been. I applaud all those involved in this great renovation.”
The renovation of the High Bridge Library was made possible with public and private support. The Library is deeply grateful to the City of New York: Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg; City Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn; City Council Member Helen D. Foster; Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. The Library also acknowledges the support of United States Congressman José E. Serrano; New York State Senator José M. Serrano; New York State Assemblywoman Vanessa L. Gibson; and David Burney, Commissioner, City of New York Department of Design and Construction. Generous private funding was provided by The Starr Foundation.
About The New York Public Library
The New York Public Library was created in 1895 with the consolidation of the private libraries of John Jacob Astor and James Lenox with the Samuel Jones Tilden Trust. The Library provides free and open access to its physical and electronic collections and information, as well as to its services. Its renowned research collections are located in the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building at Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street; The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts at Lincoln Center; the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in Harlem; and the Science, Industry and Business Library at 34th Street and Madison Avenue. Eighty-eight branch libraries provide access to circulating collections and a wide range of other services in neighborhoods throughout the Bronx, Manhattan, and Staten Island. Research and circulating collections combined total more than 50 million items. In addition, each year the Library presents thousands of exhibitions and public programs, which include classes in technology, literacy, and English for speakers of other languages. All in all The New York Public Library serves more than 17 million patrons who come through its doors annually and millions more around the globe who use its resources at www.nypl.org.
Contact: Jonathan Pace | 212.592.7710| Jonathan_Pace@nypl.org