The Cooper Union
School of Architecture

New York Public Library

The New York Public Library prides itself on its unparalleled public access to its renowned collection and electronic resources. To meet this mission and implement the Library’s Master Plan, a meticulous restoration was conducted which returned the room, one of the largest uncolumned rooms in the nation, to its former grandeur and function. Envisioning themselves as the eyes of the original architects, the architects adapted the room to maximize efficiency of library service while maintaining its historic and aesthetic integrity.

Improvements to the Main Reading Room include expanded capacity, new electronic resources, faster and more reliable book delivery, a multimedia viewing area, a self-service copy center, improved access for readers with disabilities and a reorganized open-shelf reference collection. Thirty of 42 original historic tables were carefully restored and adapted to allow most user stations to access data and power for library equipment and personal laptops. "When this Library opened in 1911, it was acclaimed for its advanced technologies and methods," said Jean Bowen, Director of the Center for Humanities. "The current renovation lets us carry forward our tradition of provided innovative new services, while maintaining the original operating framework that has worked so well for so long."

Associate Professor, Adjunct Faculty