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New York Public Library Closes Book On $300M Redesign Plan

New York Public Library

New York Public Library

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — The New York Public Library has abandoned its $300 million plan to revamp its flagship Midtown building and move 1.5 million books to New Jersey.

The library’s president, Tony Marx, said Wednesday that library officials and New York City officials are discussing possible alternatives.

“Throughout this process our focus has been making this library even better for our millions of visitors by creating an improved space for our largest circulating branch, providing a superior storage environment for the treasured research collection, and expanding public access to the iconic 42nd Street Library,” Marx said in a statement.

“When the facts change the only right thing to do as a public-serving institution is to take a look with fresh eyes and see if there is a way to improve the plans and to stay on budget.”

The plan involved closing and selling two Midtown branches. Their functions would have been consolidated inside the main library at 42nd Street and Fifth Avenue. To make room, 1.5 million books would have been moved from stacks in the Fifth Avenue building to storage in New Jersey.

Marx said, under the new proposal, the central stacks would not be moved from the main library and that the building would be renovated, reopening long-closed rooms and creating a new education corridor serving children and teachers, spaces and services for entrepreneurs and more space for researchers and writers. Meanwhile, the Mid-Manhattan Library would be renovated, not sold. That renovation would add computer labs, an adult education center and a space for browsing.

The city must approve the new proposal. While campaigning for mayor last year, Bill de Blasio voiced his opposition to the renovation plans.

When the library announced plans to gut the seven-story space and move the books to New Jersey, grassroots groups made themselves heard. Scholars complained that moving the books would have created hardships for researchers.

“We’re just delighted that the library has seen the good sense,” Charles Warren, president of The Committee to Save the New York Public Library, told Silverman.

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