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Friday, October 12, 2018

Roosevelt Island Is Getting A Brand New Bigger & Better NY Public Library Branch Opening By End Of 2019 - Take A Look At Scenes From Today's Groundbreaking Ceremony

In July 2012, New York Public Library (NYPL) President Tony Marx and Roosevelt Island's then NYC Council Member Jessica Lappin

Image of NYC Council Member Lappin, NYPL President Anthony Marx and Roosevelt Island Kids

announced plans for the relocation of the existing small and water leaking Roosevelt Island Branch Library to a much larger, brand new space on the first floor of 504 Main Street.

This morning, a little over 6 years later, Mr Marx

Image From NYPL

and Ms Lappin returned to the site of the new Roosevelt Island Public Library branch for its construction groundbreaking ceremony.
which is promised to open in late 2019.

According to this NYPL press release:

New York Public Library (NYPL) President Tony Marx and NYC (DDC) Commissioner Lorraine Grillo today announced that construction has begun on a new, much larger Roosevelt Island branch. NYPL and DDC joined island residents and local elected officials to break ground on the $7.8 million project – funded by Mayor Bill de Blasio, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, City Council Member Ben Kallos and former City Council Member Jessica Lappin – which will more than double library space on Roosevelt Island. The project, being managed by DDC for the Library, is projected to be completed in late 2019.

An artist’s rendering of the exterior of the future Roosevelt Island Branch Library

The project will convert the first floor of a former school at 504 Main Street into a new, energy efficient 5,200-square-foot New York Public Library branch, replacing the smaller existing branch down the street at 524 Main Street. The new space will provide new accommodations for the community, unavailable in the current one-room library. A separate multi-use community room will serve the public for various events and activities, and will include an audio induction loop to help the hearing impaired. A children’s room will also be provided, with glass doors and a glass partition to maintain a sense of openness inside the new facility.

“The Roosevelt Island community has long needed and wanted a bigger library, and we are so proud to break ground on a project that will do just that” said New York Public Library President Tony Marx. “The new space will be more than double the small but mighty branch that has served this unique and growing community for decades. It is the branch this community deserves, and we look forward to opening it next year.”

“Libraries bring value to communities through learning and as a public meeting space,” said DDC Commissioner Lorraine Grillo. “We’re very pleased to work with our partners at NYPL to provide a new, environmentally friendly branch on Roosevelt Island.”

“Every neighborhood should have a library it can be proud of,” said Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer. “This new NYPL branch on Roosevelt Island will double the existing library space, meet high standards for accessibility and sustainability, and boast added amenities for the entire community to enjoy. Thank you to NYPL President Tony Marx and DDC Commissioner Lorraine Grillo for breaking ground on this new facility.”

"Roosevelt Islanders love their public library! That's why I secured $1.7 million for the Roosevelt Island Library to move to its new location and to bring technology upgrades to this branch," said Council Member Ben Kallos. "It is great to see the project moving ahead. I am very much looking forward to this new state of the art New York Public Library opening its doors and serving the residents of Roosevelt Island."

"Libraries provide New Yorkers with lifelong educational opportunities and are critical to the well-being of our neighborhoods,” said State Senator José Serrano. NYPL’s Roosevelt Island branch has done a wonderful job of providing much-needed services and programming for this community, and I look forward to the possibilities of an expanded space. Many thanks to President Marx, Commissioner Grillo, and my colleagues in government for working to provide an enhanced library experience for Roosevelt Island residents while keeping an eye toward accessibility and environmental sustainability."

"The NYPL is a treasure,” said Assembly Member Rebecca Seawright. “It opens the world to anyone who enters! I commend President Marx, Commissioner Grillo and my colleagues in City government, who supported and shepherded the expansion of the Roosevelt Island branch. The enhanced environment will significantly enrich the experience for my constituents."

"Public libraries and universal access to knowledge lie at the very heart of our democracy,” said former Council Member Jessica Lappin. Books teach us, transport us, and change us. So a heartfelt congratulations to all the island residents who worked tenaciously for the last 15 years on this. As your former City Councilwoman, I was thrilled to dedicate $2 million in city funds to develop this new, larger, and drier branch and I can't wait to see it open."

The new branch will be fully ADA accessible, with a canopy to enhance public safety and a vestibule with automatic doors. The area surrounding the entry will be re-landscaped to include new plantings, an exterior book drop and bench seating that will also serve as a local bus stop. Entry will be into an open, flexible space with shelving for books, computer work stations, a reading area, a teen area and a circulation counter. Support spaces will also be provided for staff, with a private area, librarian’s office and janitor and IT closets.

The design will meet LEED Silver standards for environmental sustainability, with new, high-efficiency HVAC and other mechanical equipment in the basement and on the roof. The library will also incorporate automated LED lighting and low flow plumbing fixtures, and will make use of sustainable materials with minimal levels of volatile organic compounds (VOCs).

An artist’s rendering of the interior of the future Roosevelt Island Branch Library

The new Roosevelt Avenue Library was designed by Smith-Miller + Hawkinson Architects under DDC’s Design and Construction Excellence 2.0 program, which pre-selects and pre-qualifies design firms that DDC works with on projects with construction budgets of up to $50 million. The program is designed to decrease the amount of time required for DDC to procure design services, while ensuring the highest levels of quality and professionalism in construction projects managed by the agency. The contractor is XBR, Inc. headquartered in Astoria, Queens.

Plans for the new branch were informed by community feedback, garnered in surveys and public meetings as part of the Library’s “Building for You” community engagement program.

The Roosevelt Island Library has been serving the community for over 40 years, since its opening in 1976 under the leadership of Dorothy and Herman Reade and joining The New York Public Library system in 1997. It remains a much-loved and well-used resource in the neighborhood, receiving over 81,000 visits with a circulation of over 100,000 items this past year.
Here's full video of the full Roosevelt Island new NYPL Public Library branch groundbreaking ceremony courtesy of NYC Council Member Ben Kallos.

Among the speakers, was Roosevelt Island resident Lorranine Lasker,

a Board Member of the Roosevelt Island Community Literacy Associates (RICLA). Ms. Lasker spoke about the origins of the Roosevelt Island Library created in 1979 and operated by local volunteers up to the time it was taken over by the NYPL in 1998 (Watch video of Ms Lasker starting at 30 minute 30 Second Mark)

In addition, speaking was one of the current regular patrons of the Roosevelt Island Library, Sophia Wolstenholme. 

Image From NYPL

Ms Wolstenholme brought home to everyone the importance of the library as a place for families, adults and children (Watch video at the 34 minute 10 second mark).

Also speaking was Roosevelt Island NYPL Branch Manager Carlos Chavez

Image From NYPL

who praised the individual members of the Library staff for the work they do providing resources and services to the community (Watch video at 38 minute 10 second mark).

The Roosevelt Island Twitterverse reported:

The NYC Department of Design and Construction shares these current photos inside the future home of the Roosevelt Island NYPL

and here is NYPL January 2016 presentation on the new Roosevelt Island branch library including video of the community meeting.