More B.P.C. library plans unveiled, money to come

Kids will be front and center at the new public library in Battery Park City, according to new plans that were unveiled to Community Board 1 members at a Sept. 4 meeting.

Architects from “1100:Architects,” the firm designing the space for the New York Public Library, told C.B. 1 that they planned to place the library’s large, colorful children’s area right by the huge windows at the corner of North End Ave. and Murray St. In addition to reflecting Battery Park City’s family-oriented population, the bright, busy room would draw in passersby and let them know that the space — part of the large Riverhouse condo development at 1 River Terrace — is a public library.

The rest of the first floor will house books, as well as reading areas for grown-ups and young adults. Upstairs, there will be a quiet reading area and a modest event space, including an outdoor terrace. The library will have 10,000 square feet of space, 24 stationary computers and a number of laptops available to borrow within the library. The exact size of the library’s book collection has not yet been determined since, according to Mary Frances Cooper of the N.Y.P.L., the citywide collection has become much more fluid due to the advent of online book reservation services.

Beyond the books and lounge areas, the library will team up with local artists and organizations to bring interesting educational programs and public art to the space. Cooper said that the B.P.C. library was already planning to team up with the Poets House, another non-profit that will be located at Riverhouse, to host joint events.

“The sky’s the limit with how creative we can be,” Cooper said.

The Riverhouse will turn over the blank library space in February and the build-out will take 18 to 24 months. In order for work to proceed without stopping, the City Council will need to modify its budget to give the project an extra $1.7 million in capital funds. Tammy To, an aide to Councilmember Alan Gerson, said at the Sept. 4 meeting that if the library is ready to build, then Gerson is ready to ask for the money on its behalf.

“He wants to see this project moving forward,” To said. “He wants to have the ribbon-cutting before his term ends [on Jan. 1, 2010].”

— Skye H. McFarlane