May 20, 2022

President of NYPL Responds to WSJ Architecture Critic’s Trashing of Plan for 42nd St. Building

In the Letter to the Editor below, Anthony Marx, President of NYPL, responds to a December 4, 2012 column by WSJ Architecture critic, Ada Louise Huxtable. Highlights from the column along with links to full text here.

From the Letter to the Editor by Anthony Marx (December 9, 2012):

[The plan] calls for reopening formerly grand rooms long used for storage and converting the old stack area—which is seven floors high and two city blocks long, closed to the public, and so outdated the books are at serious risk of decay. We are moving nearly three million of those volumes from this suboptimal space to a state-of-the-art facility under Bryant Park, not off-site. The old stacks can then be converted into a vibrant circulating library overlooking Bryant Park, offering classes, programs, books and more. The people get light, space and the modern library they deserve. The books get proper climate control and will be protected for generations to come. Everybody wins.

The plan also creates $15 million a year to be spent on librarians, book acquisitions and more. At a time of decreased city funding, it would be irresponsible not to take advantage of this opportunity to better serve our users.

The “People’s Palace” must and will be preserved. But to simply hold on to the status quo would ensure the library’s decline. As we preserve and honor the past, we must also move forward to fulfill our mission over the next 100 years.

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.