Last year fans of the New York Public Library's main branch by Bryant Park (the Schwarzman Building, if you must) had a collective freakout when it was announced that NYPL president Anthony Marx wanted to move the stacks out of the glorious temple to books and ship them to New Jersey. Deep breath everybody, that isn't going to happen anymore!
After public outcry and an $8 million donation, the Library board yesterday agreed to change the $300 million Central Library Plan so that 3.3 million of the building's 4.5 million volumes can stay on site. Thanks to the donation—from trustee Abby Milstein and her banker husband Howard—the library says it can "develop the lower level of the Bryant Park Stack Extension (BPSE), two floors of storage space underneath Bryant Park that is connected to the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building. The facility was opened in 1991, but at the time, only one floor was outfitted to store valuable research material."
Once the new floors are made available the NYPL hopes to close seven floors of aboveground stacks beneath the Rose Reading Room (built in 1911) and turn them over to different purposes (something some architects are reportedly not sure is structurally feasible but the library says most certainly is). Specifically, those floors will become a circulating library so you can also check books out from the grand building! Those will come from the incorporated collections currently held in the Mid-Manhattan Library and the Science, Industry and Business Library.
Still, some are concerned that there are still things not quite clear about the plan—"There are still no numbers for any of this, still no architectural plans. So we’re still being asked to take a lot for granted," Stanley N. Katz, a professor at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton, who also serves on the library’s advisory panel, told the Times. But as fans of going to the library, calling up a book and having it actually delivered that day—we're very happy that so many books won't be getting shipped to the Garden State.