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A Landmark Gift of $55 Million by the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Generously Supports the Complete Renovation and Transformation of The New York Public Library’s Mid-Manhattan Central Circulating Branch


The gift will support the full renovation of Mid-Manhattan Library, which will reopen in 2020 as The Stavros Niarchos Foundation Library (SNFL), and will establish an endowment to support public programs at the branch


A video about the gift featuring NYPL President Tony Marx and Niarchos Co-President and Director Andreas Dracopoulos can be found here.

New renderings of the renovated Mid-Manhattan Library can be found here (credit Mecanoo with Beyer Blinder Belle).

Photos and b-roll of the current Mid-Manhattan Library can be found here

SEPTEMBER 13, 2017 – Building on its long-standing commitment to libraries worldwide and to The New York Public Library in particular, the Stavros Niarchos Foundation is partnering with The New York Public Library and the City of New York to support the complete renovation of the system’s largest circulating branch, Mid-Manhattan Library.

The Foundation’s transformational $55 million gift will support the creation of a modern, central branch to hold the Library’s largest circulating collection and offer countless programs for children, teens, and adults. In addition, it will help establish an inspiring “Midtown campus” that will reconnect the circulating library with the Library’s iconic research center, the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building, across Fifth Avenue, creating a free, open destination for thought and ideas in the center of Midtown. The gift also establishes an endowment for programming at the renovated library.

The Mid-Manhattan Library renovation is expected to be complete in 2020, when the building will reopen as The Stavros Niarchos Foundation Library (SNFL), a testament to the importance of this gift as well as the Foundation’s extensive previous support. In total, the Foundation has supported the Library with grants of over $60 million. The Library’s Board of Trustees Executive Committee approved the renaming at a recent meeting, and it was announced at the full Board of Trustees meeting this evening.

The gift is the second largest individual gift in the history of the Library, and contributed to a record year of private fundraising: in Fiscal Year 2017, the Library raised $133.38 million in new major gift commitments, more than in any other year in its history.

“This gift is a culmination of the Stavros Niarchos Foundation’s long-standing and unwavering commitment to libraries around the globe,” said Library President Tony Marx. “We are so appreciative of the Foundation’s generosity, vision, and support as we transform our largest central branch into the library New Yorkers deserve and have never had. The project—also supported by our partners in New York City government—will allow for more use and a better flow of ideas and learning back and forth across Fifth Avenue."

 “With over 21 years of global grant-making history, the Stavros Niarchos Foundation has committed significant resources towards supporting public institutions across each of its four main programmatic areas. Public libraries are paradigmatic public institutions offering communities an array of critical services that extend far beyond the lending of books. The varied roles of public libraries place them, more than ever before, at the heart of our civic societies, at a time when many had been predicting their demise,” said Andreas Dracopoulos, Co-President of the Stavros Niarchos Foundation. “We are very proud of this new partnership with NYPL, which continues a long and impactful collaboration. Our shared vision is that this landmark gift will not only transform one of the city’s most democratic and accessible spaces, Mid-Manhattan’s central circulating branch, but will also create a hub of knowledge, creativity, and innovation in the center of one of the world’s greatest cities.”   

The Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF) is one of the world’s leading private, international philanthropic organizations, making grants in the areas of arts and culture, education, health and sports, and social welfare. The SNF has a long-established relationship with The New York Public Library, supporting educational programs and exhibitions that make the work and collections of the Library more accessible to all. In that vein, the SNF is currently working closely with NYPL and the Revson Foundation on a program to make one-day passes to cultural institutions available for checkout in branches across all three New York City library systems.

The SNF has also shown unwavering commitment to libraries around the world, supporting, among other projects, the construction of the new facilities for the National Library of Greece at The Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center (SNFCC) in Athens, designed by Renzo Piano Building Workshop.

The Stavros Niarchos Foundation Library (SNFL) will have a dramatic, three-story atrium facing a five-story Long Room of book stacks; a business library occupying a full floor and an adjacent floor providing job-search help and an employment skills center; a full floor dedicated to separate libraries for children and teens; one of the only free public roof terraces in Midtown; and hundreds more seats than the current branch. The design of the Library’s Midtown renovation is from the Dutch architecture firm Mecanoo, known for its visionary approach to libraries, with New York City-based firm Beyer Blinder Belle, a renowned expert in historical renovations.

The $200 million renovation is being funded with $151 million in City capital funds, as well as the generous private gift from the Stavros Niarchos Foundation.

Key elements of the new 100,000-square-foot library will include:

  • Capacity for approximately 400,000 books and other materials, the largest capacity for circulating materials in the Library system.
  • A “Long Room”—the largest element in the new branch—offering five floors of open, browsable book stacks and two floors of meeting rooms
  • One of the only rooftop terraces in Midtown that will be free and open to the public
  • A dedicated business library occupying an entire floor and offering the services and circulating collections of the Science, Industry and Business Library
  • An adult learning center—one of the largest in the city—which will provide a seamless continuum of educational opportunities
  • A floor of separate spaces for kids and for teens
  • Approximately 17,000 square feet of general reading and study space, including seating for almost 1,500 library patrons
  • Over 11,000 square feet of multipurpose space that can be used for classes, events, one-on-one consultations, seminars, and a host of other programs

The renovated branch will also be a central part of the Library’s plan to create a world-class learning center in the middle of Midtown, uniting in one central campus the Library’s full spectrum of resources—from the Library’s renowned historical collections cherished by scholars from around the world to our much-needed circulating materials, programs, and events for all ages.

The renovation is essential for the Mid-Manhattan branch, which opened in the 1970s in a space originally designed as a department store. The branch receives approximately 1.7 million visits annually and circulates approximately 2 million items each year, making it one of the busiest circulating libraries in the country.

Planning for the Mid-Manhattan renovation began in fall 2015 with the selection of the design team following more than a year of discussion and input led by librarians and informed by expert and public feedback. Preliminary designs were released in the fall of 2016. Mid-Manhattan Library closed on August 1, 2017, so construction could begin. The target date for completion is early 2020.

More information on the project is available at


Media Contacts:

The New York Public Library | Angela Montefinise |

Goodman Media/Stavros Niarchos Foundation | Virginia Anagnos |


The New York Public Library is a free provider of education and information for the people of New York and beyond. With 92 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


The Stavros Niarchos Foundation ( is one of the world’s leading private, international philanthropic organizations, making grants in the areas of arts and culture, education, health and sports, and social welfare. Since 1996, the Foundation has committed more than $2.4 billion, through almost 4,000 grants to nonprofit organizations in 113 nations around the world—including a new SNF initiative to expand its support of the Health sector in Greece with a series of infrastructure and education projects, expected to exceed $240 million.

The SNF funds organizations and projects, worldwide, that aim to achieve a broad, lasting and positive impact, for society at large, and exhibit strong leadership and sound management. The Foundation also supports projects that facilitate the formation of public-private partnerships as an effective means for serving public welfare.

In addition to its regular and ongoing international grant-making activities, the SNF recently committed $150 million to establish the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Agora Institute at Johns Hopkins University (JHU) in Baltimore, MD, US. This multidisciplinary center will debate, explore and promote civil discourse and civic engagement worldwide. The SNF’s gift to JHU follows another landmark gift of $75 million to Rockefeller University, a world-renowned academic and medical research institution, in New York, NY, US, to create a new and expanded university campus, the Stavros Niarchos Foundation-David Rockefeller River Campus (SNF-DR).

In keeping with the Foundation’s long-standing and extensive commitment to libraries worldwide, the SNF just announced a transformational gift of $55 million for the complete renovation of New York Public Library’s Mid-Manhattan Central Circulating Branch and the creation of an endowment in support of its public programs. The library will re-open in 2020 as the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Library (SNFL).

In Greece, the SNF has continued to respond to urgent local needs by providing relief against the severe effects of the country’s socioeconomic crisis through three nearly complete major grant initiatives totaling approximately $380 million, in addition to its ongoing grants.

The SNF’s largest single gift is the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center (SNFCC), in Athens. The project’s total cost exceeded $860 million. The SNFCC was designed by the renowned architectural firm Renzo Piano Building Workshop, and includes the new facilities of the National Library of Greece and the Greek National Opera, as well as the Stavros Niarchos Park. The Foundation delivered the SNFCC to Greek Society on February 23, 2017. Following the handover, the SNF announced its commitment to continue supporting the SNFCC for five years, through grants of $53 million that support the implementation of public programming and help cover a portion of SNFCC’s operational costs. All events funded with the SNF’s support are free to the public.

Every year, the SNF organizes The Stavros Niarchos Foundation Annual International Conference on Philanthropy and the Summer Nostos Festival, which take place at the SNFCC in Athens. Both events are free and open to the public.

The SNF does not engage in any for profit activities in Greece or abroad, and it is audited by