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The New York Public Library Launches a Public Engagement Process in Planning Libraries for the Future


Board of Trustees Approves Next Phase of System-wide Plan, Including Educational Pilot Programs in Branches and Schematic Designs for the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building

Feb. 16  —  The New York Public Library’s plan to reimagine its libraries for the future is moving into its next phase, which includes a public engagement process to hear what users — from researchers to families to Library staff and patrons everywhere — want from their libraries. 

The Library’s Board of Trustees authorized last night the design and implementation of key pilot projects for new and expanded branch programming. The Board also authorized the start of the schematic design process by renowned architects Foster + Partners for the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building at Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street. Both steps are central to a system-wide vision to create open, community-focused, democratic libraries of opportunity throughout the Bronx, Manhattan, and Staten Island.


The plan — first proposed in 2008 — now includes:


  • Several education-based pilot programs at NYPL branches — including expanded ESOL, literacy, and after-school offerings — to meet the critical needs of New Yorkers at a time when many providers of these services are cutting back

  • Hundreds of millions of dollars in capital improvements to branches across the NYPL system

  • A focus on all NYPL branches as active, vibrant community hubs

  • The creation of the nation’s largest combined circulating and research library at the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building, a symbol of transformation across the system. The improved Library would double overall public space, double the workspace for scholars and researchers, and provide all users the opportunity to browse and check out books on a large scale for the first time in decades.


Beginning today, people can learn the details of these and other aspects of the plan at a new website, They can then contribute feedback and new ideas that will help NYPL shape its libraries for the future. The website is the first step in a series of ways the Library will directly engage communities and members of the public.


“Libraries could and should change lives, offering unprecedented access to books, services, and active education centers where creativity and ideas are born,” said Library President Anthony Marx. “Our goal is to create the Library for the Future, one worthy of this great city, one that enhances how it serves all of its patrons. We believe we are on our way to doing just that.”