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The New York Public Library Signs Lease For New Roosevelt Island Library


New branch will be double the size of the current library on Roosevelt Island and is expected to open in 2017

JULY 3 – The New York Public Library has taken a critical step in its plan to build a new and improved library on Roosevelt Island.

On July 1 the Library signed a lease for a property on the ground floor at 504 Main Street, which will be the site of a new Roosevelt Island branch. The new library will be more than double the size of the current library – which is only a short distance away at 524 Main Street – and is expected to be completed in 2017.  

“The Roosevelt Island Library has been a beloved institution on the Island since its beginning in 1976,” said NYPL President Tony Marx. “After nearly 40 years, this ever-growing community requires a new and improved building that can support the neighborhood and its residents. This new space, a short walk from the current location, is a wonderful opportunity for our staff to further its work on Roosevelt Island, accommodate the residents’ need for the Library’s resources and services, and expand what we can offer. ”

The new library will be approximately 5,200 square feet, more than double the 2,500 square feet offered at the current Roosevelt Island branch. It will offer the public materials including books, CDs and DVDs, as well as computers, wi-fi capabilities and programming spaces. It will also be ADA accessible. During the construction of the new building, the existing branch will remain open to the public.

In Fiscal Year 2012, the Roosevelt Island Library received almost 90,000 visits, and circulated over 115,000 items.

Funding for the new branch, which totals $5.5 million, has been provided by City Council Member Jessica Lappin and the City Council, Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer, and Mayor Bloomberg

"I am thrilled that the lease has been signed for the new Roosevelt Island Library.  And I am proud to have secured $ 4 million dollars in capital funding to make this library a reality. With the funding in place and the lease signed, our dream of a new, state-of-the art library that can accommodate an ever growing population of Roosevelt Islanders, is now coming true," said Council Member Jessica Lappin, representative of  the 5
th District of Manhattan.

“Our City’s public libraries are an invaluable gateway to knowledge and learning for New Yorkers of all ages and economic backgrounds. That’s why we must ensure that they are growing with the demands and needs of our residents,” said Manhattan Borough President Scott M. Stringer, whose office provided $1 million in capital funds for the development of the library. “I’m extremely pleased that my office could help support the badly needed expansion of a library on Roosevelt Island. From literature to computer access, it’s my hope that all nearby residents will be able to enjoy these additional resources and services.”

The project is being managed by the New York City Department of Design and Construction.

The Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation (RIOC) will undertake certain construction work to assist the NYPL relocation.  In addition to the installation of new exterior doors and windows and a new building entrance, RIOC will demolish the interior to clear the way for the new and improved library.

“The RIOC Board has long been committed to assisting with the expansion of the library, and is pleased that with this development the library will double in size.  The magnified presence of the library will greatly benefit Island residents and visitors, while adding to the momentum of the revitalization of our Main Street,” said a RIOC spokesperson.

The landlord for the library is Hudson Related Retail LLC (“HRR”).  HRR entered into a Master Retail Sublease agreement with RIOC in August 2011 in order to lead the Roosevelt Island Main Street corridor rejuvenation.

Created in 1976 by Dorothy and Herman Reade, the one-room Roosevelt Island Community Library served residents for 20 years. In 1997, the Roosevelt Island Library became one of The New York Public Library’s local branches serving the Bronx, Manhattan, and Staten Island.

About The New York Public Library

The New York Public Library is a free provider of education and information for the people of New York and beyond. With 91 locations—including research and branch libraries—throughout the Bronx, Manhattan, and Staten Island, the Library offers free materials, computer access, classes, exhibitions, programming and more to everyone from toddlers to scholars, and has seen record numbers of attendance and circulation in recent years. The New York Public Library serves more than 18 million patrons who come through its doors annually and millions more around the globe who use its resources at To offer this wide array of free programming, The New York Public Library relies on both public and private funding. Learn more about how to support the Library at