December 2013 Update on Renovation of the 42nd Street Library
An update: As the Library shared in October, we continue to develop plans for the 42nd Street Library renovation. Specifically, library staff is developing programming for the renovated building's varied sets of users, and that work will inform the updated designs for the library. Our aim continues to be to enhance services for research, circulating and business library users. We'll continue to share progress as information develops. And of course, we look forward to working with our new, and existing, partners in City and State government.
At the same time, there are several types of reviews necessary for a plan of this complexity. In 2012, the Library appeared before Community Board 5 and the Landmarks Preservation Commission -- CB 5 passed a resolution supporting the plan, and Landmarks gave preliminary approval of the plan, subject to the Library returning when the renovation design is further developed.
Beginning in spring 2013, as part of the City’s funding commitment for the project the Library began working with the Mayor's Office of Environmental Coordination, which examines a variety of potential impacts of a development project, such as noise, traffic and land use. This week the City issued a determination that the project would not have significant adverse environmental impacts -- the technical term is a "negative declaration." This means that the City’s environmental review of the project is complete.
We have also been consulting with the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation & Historic Preservation (OPRHP), which ensures that certain development projects respect a building's historic integrity. In a "Letter of Resolution" also issued this week, OPRHP and the Empire State Development Corporation agreed that the Library's plan to return a circulating library to the building, retain portions of the historic stacks and to, for the first time ever, provide public access to these stacks, is respectful of the 42nd Street building's heritage. The Library will continue to consult OPRHP as well as the City regarding the design as the project evolves.
Of course, while these are important developments, what’s most critical to our users is that we develop both a program plan and a design for the renovated 42nd Street Library that truly transforms the visitor experience. We look forward to sharing our work in the months ahead and continuing to have a vibrant public exchange on this most exciting project.