Harlem Library Underfunded, But Midtown Branch To Receive $300M

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  • As the New York Public Library (NYPL) system prepares its flagship 5th Avenue location for a $300-million overhaul, its smallest branch seems to be getting shafted, according to the NY Daily News.

    The NYPL’s Macomb’s Bridge Library, located in the Harlem River Houses on Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Boulevard, reportedly only has 14 chairs. It is housed in a 700-sq-ft converted studio apartment that can only fit 25 people at any given time.

    Visitors only have access to 10 laptop computers, there are only 61 shelves of books, and the librarian’s office is smaller than most bathrooms. Space in the library is so limited that whenever staff members want to hold a puppet show or movie screening, they have to either place all the tables against the wall or take the events outside.

    Meanwhile, the iconic mid-Manhattan branch (pictured below) is set to combine with the nearby Science, Industry, and Business Library; seven floors of book stacks in the mid-Manhattan branch will be demolished and converted into a new branch.

    The Macomb's Bridge Library could fit 40 times over in the Rose Reading Room of the main branch of the New York Public Library, located on 42nd St.

    Critics argue the plan is taking the library’s budget away from other branches.

    “The amount of money they have is finite. If you take half a billion dollars and use if for one purpose, it is sucking money that could be used in other places of the system,” said Jacob Morris, an opponent of the expansion plan.

    In response to detractors, the NYPL says Macomb’s is stuck in its current location because of the community’s inability to locate a suitable space.

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