Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Under Our Feet: The NYPL Stacks Undergo Renovation

If you've been on the Bryant Park Public Tour, you already know one of the park's most interesting secrets. For those of you who haven't joined us yet, we'll spill: underneath the lawn/rink area, there are two levels of storage for books and other research materials from the New York Public Library. Can you believe that 3.2 million volumes and half a million rolls of microfilm are underneath? The subterranean stacks are used for storage and closed to the public, but library patrons can request books housed in those stacks.

This photo is from the 1988 lawn excavation and stacks construction.
The stacks are in the news this week because they're being reconfigured to more efficiently hold the NYPL's growing research collection. Instead of using the trusty Dewey decimal system, the NYPL is reorganizing books by size. In addition, tracks will be installed to guide motorized carts, which will find books by bar code and deliver them to the NYPL patron within 40 minutes of the request. 
Other features of the research collection are movable shelves, which maximize storage space. In addition, the basement's climate and humidity control systems keep the temperature a cool 65 degrees with 40% humidity, a perfect atmosphere for a book.   
The reconfiguration is expected to finish in April 2016.
Read more about the activity beneath the Rink here. 

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