The New York Public Library has announced a $1 billion plan to transform the institution so it can better serve the millions of patrons that visit its eighty-nine locations as well as those who access its holdings via the Internet. And to jumpstart a $500 million capital campaign, the library announced a lead gift of $100 million from financier Stephen A. Schwarzman.
The library's five-year goal is to double the number of users who take advantage of its collections, programs, reading rooms, and online offerings. If successful, the campaign would enable the library to renovate and reconfigure its historic Fifth Avenue building to include a vast, state-of-the-art lending library alongside its existing research divisions; build two new hub libraries — in northern Manhattan and Staten Island — and offer greatly expanded hours and services; expand the library's online presence to make its unique holdings and programs accessible worldwide and create new online communities led by its librarians and curators; and strengthen the library's financial position by improving operational efficiencies and increasing the endowment.
Schwarzman's gift is the largest single donation ever to the library and the largest unrestricted gift by an individual to any cultural organization in New York City. In recognition of his gift, the Fifth Avenue facility — currently known as the Humanities and Social Sciences Library — will be renamed the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building.
"The world of information and ideas has changed profoundly," said NYPL president Paul LeClerc, "and the needs of library users have changed in response. In neighborhoods, on the Internet, and at the heart of the city, our new plans provide a framework to deliver future generations of library users with the services that will be essential to their lives and livelihood in this new era. We are extremely grateful to Steve Schwarzman for his remarkable commitment to the future of the library and his recognition of the vital significance of our library system to users around the corner and across the globe."