Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Now That's a Donation!

The NYTimes reports today that Steven Schwarzman, a Wall Street "buyout guru," has "agreed to jump-start a $1 billion expansion of the library system with a guaranteed $100 million of his own." The donation is being hailed as one of "the largest to any cultural institution in the city’s history."

The main NYPL library building on Fifth Avenue at 42nd Street will be named for Schwarzman, library officials said. Current plans call for some major renovations to the building over the next few years: a "new circulating library will be situated in a vast space that currently houses eight levels of stacks below the Main Reading Room and overlooks Bryant Park through strip windows. The stacks will be moved to an existing three-acre storage area beneath the park, opening the way for the space to be gutted and reconfigured with new rooms for children and teenagers and ample computer work stations. ... The plan also calls for a new cafe and information center to enliven Astor Hall just inside the Fifth Avenue entrance, wireless Internet access throughout the building, refurbishment of branch libraries and the creation of two new libraries in Upper Manhattan and Staten Island."

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