The historic Rose Reading Room at the New York Public Library has been reopened following a two year closure for repair and restoration.
The room, which is located in the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building on Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street, officially reopened last week along with the adjacent Bill Blass Public Catalog room. The rooms have spaces where researchers can access the Library’s general materials as well as areas for members of the public to use for reading or study. It has Wi-Fi and a new state of the art storage system is being built underneath Bryant Park where millions of research books are accessed by staff using a book train conveyor belt system.
The main reading room was first closed following an incident that saw a decaying ornamental plaster rosette falling from the 52-foot high ceiling overnight in May of 2014. Following that, the library conducted a full inspection of the ceilings that date back to when the library was first built in 1911 and decided to make improvements.
All 900 plaster elements in both rooms were reinforced during the renovation, with the rosette that fell from the ceiling being recreated. Muralists were called in to recreate a 33-foot James Wall Finn mural on the ceiling of the Bill Blass Public Catalog Room and lighting specialists restored chandeliers, installing LED lights.
A ribbon cutting ceremony was held in the South Hall of the main reading room and was attended by New York State Senator Brad Hoylman, Library President Tony Marx, members of the board of trustees and poet Elizabeth Alexander who shared some readings. The video below features a stunning time lapse of the books being re-shelved.
The stunning room is 78 by 297 feet, the length of two city blocks and nearly as big as a football field. It has been featured in many films, including the 1984 cult classic Ghostbusters.