January 26, 2022

New York: Lawsuit Filed to Stop New York Public Library Renovation

UPDATED 4:00 PM July 4, 2013 
“Opponents Sue to Block New York Public Library Renovation Plan”
Coverage from the The NY Times

From The Wall Street Journal:

A group of scholars and preservationists including a Pulitzer Prize-winning historian have filed a lawsuit to prevent the removal of century-old book stacks from the New York Public Library’s landmark building on Fifth Avenue as part of a planned $300 million renovation.

The lawsuit, filed in New York State Supreme Court in Manhattan on Wednesday, seeks a court injunction to stop the library from proceeding with preparatory or demolition work, and to bar city officials from providing funding for the renovation.


“The destruction of the stacks… will surely doom the NYPL’s mission to serve the public’s research and reference needs,” the plaintiffs said in court documents filed Wednesday. “If the stacks are destroyed, the books – the unique and distinguishing asset of the NYPL – can never be returned to their rightful place under the Rose Main Reading Room.”

Library spokesman Ken Weine said the library hadn’t yet reviewed the lawsuit.


The lawsuit presents several legal arguments for halting the renovation and the related sale of the Mid-Manhattan Library. Among them: that library officials failed to conduct a review of the project’s environmental impact; that the removal of the stacks would impinge on the public’s right to receive information under the First Amendment; and that the consolidation of a circulating library inside a research library constitutes a breach of the library trustees’ fiduciary duties because it would diminish the library’s research function.

Read the Complete Article

See Also:  The New York Public Library Must Be Saved From Itself (by David Levering Lewis; July 2, 2013 via COHE)
Note: Levering Lewis is a plaintiff in the case.

See Also: New York Public Library Will Commission Review of Central Library Plan Rennovation Costs (June 27, 2013)

See Also: New York Public Library Shares Latest On The Central Library Plan: Barcoding and Storing Stack Materials (April 29, 2013)

See Also: New York Public Library’s Flagship Building Designs Released (December 19, 2012)

About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) 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 Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.