New York, Nov 22 (EFE) .- The most famous library in New York, known for the iconic lions that rest at its entrance, will undertake the biggest reform of its history, which will cost 317 millions of dollars and will not be free of controversy.
The library, on Fifth Avenue, always frequented by tourists, is also one of the most popular among researchers in the entire country, and will remain under construction until the end of 2021.
Four years ago, a group of investigators knocked down the previous project and threatened to sue the institution if they did not march back in its attempt to get rid of its centenary shelves.
With the new reform, the library will gain 20% of space for research rooms, exhibition and workshops It will incorporate a cafeteria, another new store, an elevator and a new terrace.
However, the master plan does not deal with a tricky topic: the use that will be given to emblematic shelves.
The shelves, dated from 1911, do not meet the temperature, humidity and fire safety requirements of the most important collections. delicate.
That's why most of the files they used to host are temporarily relocated to the library in Bryant Park, and their shelves hold another collection, the from the Mid-Manhattan library, which is involved in another huge reform worth $ 200 million.
"We will take some time before making the decision. little more before deciding with haste and making mistakes, "the president of the New York public library network, Anthony Marx, exclaimed during the presentation of the plan in an audience public this week.
"How dare you call it master plan if it does not pick up the most important aspect of the library, as is the shelves?" questioned a user during the Question Time.
"What people want is to have more books at their disposal and access them as soon as possible," said another, who recalled with nostalgia the times in which he could sniff between the shelves, pick up the book himself and, along the way, "run into other copies" that he did not even know existed.
Marx argued that, although the books rest in other libraries, the average delivery time is 27 minutes, and stressed that thanks to an agreement with the universities of Harvard, Columbia and Princeton, the catalog has been expanded in seven million new copies.
The opening of a cafeteria in the library also raised passions. bibliophile, causing a standing ovation from the audience attending the presentation of the plan.
Of the 317 million dollars in the plan, 144 have already been invested in the last decade, and the Most come from donations to the network of public libraries in New York.
This network is, despite its name, a private foundation that receives both public and private funds, and has 92 centers in Manhattan, the Bronx and Staten Island.
The reform will involve a reorganization of the spaces. students, readers and researchers, while visitors and events will be located on the ground floors.
The exterior of the building will not change, except for the transformation of a door for workers on 40th Street, which will become a terrace with a garden, designed for the groups of students who visit it, and which will help decongest accesses.
Dutch architect Francine Houben, whose office will be responsible for the reform, explained that the building is "splendid" but now there are some noble rooms that the public does not see, a "error" that will be amended after the works.
Despite the insistence of the public, who insistently asked about the future of the shelves, Anthony Marx simply said that They will "study" all the possible uses they can have.
"What use do you want to give to a bookshelf? Place your books!" snapped a woman in the audience, who unleashed laughter at the living room.