Another Lawsuit Filed To Stop New York Public Library Renovation (Central Library Plan)
The complaint, filed on Wednesday in New York State Supreme Court, formalizes concerns about the Central Library Plan, which would replace the stacks with a circulating library and is expected to cost at least $300 million.
“Removal of the stacks, and the off-site displacement of the materials they hold, threatens to endanger the central library’s status as one of the world’s leading research facilities,” the complaint says, “and irrevocably alter the architectural integrity of the central library, a New York City landmark and a national historic landmark.” The plaintiffs include the writer Edmund Morris; the historian David Nasaw; Joan W. Scott, a social science professor at the Institute for Advanced Study; and Stanley N. Katz, a professor at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton.
The first claim in the Coalition’s lawsuit to be filed tomorrow is that a 1978 Agreement between the Library, City and State of New York bars any structural alteration of the Central Branch of the Library absent prior consent from the State. Under another provision of the 1978 Agreement, the NYPL and the City also each separately promised “to protect and preserve the historical integrity of features, materials, appearance, workmanship and environment” of the Central Library — a promise that “they would break if the stacks were to be removed,” according to Michael Hiller of Weiss & Hiller, the firm representing the Coalition.
The Coalition’s suit also includes claims seeking injunctive relief to direct that the books already removed from the Library as part of the Central Library Plan be immediately restored. A series of trusts, indentures, agreements and the NYPL Charter explicitly prohibit removal of the books from the Library.
About Gary Price
Gary Price (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. He earned his MLIS degree from Wayne State University in Detroit. Price has won several awards including the SLA Innovations in Technology Award and Alumnus of the Year from the Wayne St. University Library and Information Science Program. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com.