New York Public Library revises plans to renovate 42nd Street branch

The controversial plans were shelved following protests.

The New York Public Library Wednesday shelved its controversial plans to revamp its iconic 42nd Street branch.

Following weeks of protests from library patrons, history buffs and other New Yorkers, the library’s board announced that it will not be moving forward with a $300 million renovation that would have removed shelves of books to create more space.

“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 library’s president Tony Marx said.

In the original plan, the books located under the research library would have been moved to a storage location in New Jersey and shared with the Princeton and Columbia libraries. That part of the building would have then been converted to a lending library with large windows overlooking Bryant Park.

Marx said the new plans for the building will still include a state-of-the-art education corridor for students and more research space.

Peter Pennoyer, an architect who was one of many New Yorkers who protested the plan, said the initial proposal would have destroyed the historical essence of the building.

“This room has seen some great scholarship,” he said.

Pennoyer created his own plans for the renovation that aims to add close to 300,000 more square feet of public and storage space than the old renovation design.

“Instead of being negative plan, we should come up with something useful and practical and show the board the benefits,” he said.

Ivan Pereira