42nd St Renovation: Project Details

Merging Tradition and Innovation


Designed by the renowned architecture firm Foster + Partners, the 160,000-square-foot 42nd Street renovation will more than double public space within the building while preserving the building’s facade and its original interiors. A new circulating library will replace an enormous area that is currently occupied by the outdated book stacks and has always been closed to the public. Most research volumes housed on those shelves will be moved to modern storage beneath Bryant Park, thanks to a generous gift from Library Trustee Abby S. Milstein and her husband, Howard P. Milstein.


A New Lending Library for All


Within one iconic building and overlooking Bryant Park, New Yorkers will enjoy free access to ...

  • Books to browse and check out
  • Computer labs
  • Programs and events
  • Meeting spaces
  • Quiet study zones
  • New centers for children and teens
  • Classrooms for ESOL, literacy, and more
  • Job Search resources
  • Expanded spaces for scholars and writers



Preserving and Restoring a Masterpiece


The 42nd Street Renovation preserves the building’s awe-inspiring public spaces and reopens historic rooms that have long been closed to the public, allowing even more New Yorkers to enjoy this Beaux-Arts treasure.


The Main Rose Reading Room