Iconic reading room at New York Public Library reopens after renovation

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Lauren Glassberg has the latest details.

After being closed for two years due to repairs, the iconic Rose Main Reading Room at the New York Public Library has reopened, with stunning renovations of the Manhattan landmark.

For two years the room was off-limits after a piece of the ceiling broke off.

"We had a rosette problem, it fell happily at 2 a.m. so no one was hurt," said New York Public Library President Tony Marx. "The building is 105 years old. We learned afterwards that the life expectancy on rosettes is 100 years, so we got an extra five years out of the deal."

To make sure nothing like it happens again, a $12 million renovation ensued. The ornate ceiling was repaired and reinforced, and Wednesday a ribbon-cutting was held to mark its reopening.

"Scholars and writers will come to access its research treasures and find inspiration," said Trustee Abby Milstein. "Readers will come to enjoy undisturbed serenity, and New Yorkers and people from all over will come to admire its beauty."

And in addition to the Rose Reading Room renovation, there's a book train that replaces an old conveyor belt and streamlines the process of delivering books from below Bryant Park where they're stored.

"If you request a book that's in our stacks, you'll get the book within 40 minutes now and it will be delivered here to the Rose Main Reading Room," said New York Public Library Chief Operating Officer Iris Weinshall.

And there are now 4.3 million books in those Milstein stacks, research books meant to be read in a room that stretches nearly two blocks.

It's equipped with computers and WiFi, but one English professor opts to work there for other reasons.

"It's such a beautiful space to work," said scholar Farrah Griffin. "The light is beautiful no matter the weather. But I think it's really the sense of community, that there are people, everyday people, ordinary people, sitting here quietly reading and working. So that's a rare space that libraries offer, this one especially."
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hobbieslibrariesbooksNew York City
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