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Reimagining the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building
A vibrant, new vision of libraries, and of public space itself, is being planned for The New York Public Library. In the coming years, NYPL will reimagine the landmark Stephen A. Schwarzman Building at Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street, creating the largest combined research and circulating library in the country. We aim to open this iconic building to millions more users — scholars, students, families, job seekers and more — offering them the collections, services, and programs they need, in double the amount of public space. For writers, researchers, and all patrons who need these resources after work, we plan to keep the Library open until 11 p.m. on the busiest evenings. This enlivened, democratic hub of learning and creativity would be a symbol of rebirth across the Library’s 91 locations.
Drawing energy from the surrounding streets of Midtown Manhattan and inspiration from nearby Bryant Park, this stunning Library for the Future, to be designed by the award-winning architects
Foster + Partners, would provide valuable new resources and additional spaces for work and collaboration — to the benefit all of the Library’s diverse patrons. With the addition of a new circulating library, users would be able to browse and check out books from a major lending collection at the Schwarzman Building for the first time in generations. And more public computers would support the work of today’s researchers while also increasing access to information for the scholars of tomorrow. By incorporating the collections and services now housed at Mid-Manhattan Library and the Science, Industry and Business Library, users would have access to these offerings in one central location, providing a dramatic increase in areas open to the public over that of today’s three libraries combined.
Located at the center of New York City and its cultural, intellectual, community, and civic life, the reimagined Schwarzman Building would bring together New Yorkers of all ages and interests amid soaring spaces designed to inspire by evoking the limitless knowledge contained within.
Among the proposed highlights:
- Twice as much public space, including new areas for research, meetings, classes, working groups, and other forms of creative collaboration
- Twice as much dedicated space for writers and scholars
- Vastly increased public programming
- Hundreds more public computers, plus other technology upgrades
- Enhanced exhibition spaces
Even with the dramatically expanded public spaces, the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building would still contain:
- More than 2 million books, including both research and circulating volumes
- Millions more rare collections materials, including 450,000 maps, 250,000 prints, almost 1 million photographs, and 40,000 linear feet of manuscripts
- In addition, more than 6 million books and other materials will be made available on-site within 24 hours from a state-of-the-art preservation facility
The reimagining of the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building is part of a major plan for the future envisioned for NYPL’s 91 locations across the Bronx, Manhattan, and Staten Island. Learn more about improvements to neighborhood libraries, and view a project timeline.
We want to hear from YOU! Join the conversation about NYPL’s plan to build the Library for the Future and let us know what is important to you. Don’t forget to check back often for more information and for more ways to contribute input. You can also sign up for NYPL News, the Library's monthly e-newsletter, to get updates on this project and other Library happenings.