FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 26, 2009
MAYOR BLOOMBERG, NEW YORK PUBLIC LIBRARY PRESIDENT PAUL LECLERC AND STATEN ISLAND OFFICIALS ANNOUNCE START OF RENOVATION AND EXPANSION OF STAPLETON BRANCH
State-of-the-Art Renovation Will More than Double Library's Common Space and Add More than Two Dozen New Computers, Wireless Access, and Self-Checkout Stations
Construction of New Libraries on Staten Island Fulfills Pledge from Mayor's 2009 State of the City Speech
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, New York Public Library President Paul LeClerc and Staten Island elected officials today announced the start of the renovation and expansion of the library's Stapleton Branch on Canal Street in Staten Island. The $10.1 million project will more than double the library's common space and encompass a comprehensive technology upgrade, including more than two dozen new computers, free wireless Internet access and new self-checkout stations. The project will retain the character of the historic library while adding a new building that will provide neighborhood residents with a state-of-the-art library and modern features. It will be completed in fall 2011. Since 2002, the New York City Department of Design and Construction has completed four new library branches (Cambria Heights and Long Island City in Queens, Morris Park in the Bronx, and SoHo in Manhattan), two major additions to the Brooklyn Public Library and more than 25 renovations and modernizations to existing branches in all five boroughs working with the three library systems.
"New York City's public libraries serve as invaluable centers of education and activity for children and adults in neighborhoods in all five boroughs," said Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg. "Often beautiful, historic buildings, they offer internet access, lectures and many other opportunities for enrichment and free resources to New Yorkers who might not otherwise have access to them. The expansion of the Stapleton branch will provide a state-of-the-art upgrade to the historic library and be a fantastic addition to the community. Its construction is part of our record $10 billion capital plan that is allowing us to make major investments in commitments and continue improving the quality of life in all five boroughs."
"Once this renovation and expansion are complete, the striking new Stapleton Library will provide a wide range of free resources reflecting the needs of its community at a time of expanding information needs," said Library President Paul LeClerc. "Whether programs for children, books for recreational reading, free Internet access, job information, or any of its many other services, the library will be a robust resource for its users. We are deeply grateful to Mayor Michael Bloomberg, City Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn, former Council Member and current U. S. Congressman Michael McMahon, Council Member Kenneth Mitchell, and Borough President James Molinaro, as well as the State of New York whose funding has made this renovation possible. In addition, we greatly appreciate the private support of Virginia James."
"During these tough times, New Yorkers, now more than ever, rely on their local libraries as safe and accessible public places in their neighborhoods," said Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn. "Just as important as keeping our City's libraries open six days week, we are committed to improving the rich network of libraries that thousands of New Yorkers enjoy almost every single day. Not only does expanding the Stapleton Branch mean more resources and programs for Staten Islanders, this expansion sends the powerful message that, even during the toughest of times, our City is still growing and working together we are moving forward."
"I am pleased to allocate $800,000 in capital funding towards the expansion of the historic Stapleton Library, that will more than double the current space for Islanders using the facility," said Staten Island Borough President James P. Molinaro. "A strong library makes for a strong community, and I expect that this renovation will make the Stapleton branch even more popular among Islanders of all ages who seek enrichment through learning, and continue the renaissance of the St.George/Stapleton area."
"It is an honor to be a part of this exciting and long-awaited step to bring the expanded Stapleton Library to the community," said Council Member Kenneth Mitchell. "With the old Carnegie Library structure receiving a much needed renovation and the expansion bringing the long desired programming and resource space we are truly preserving the past while building for the future."
"This groundbreaking is a great step towards addressing the needs of Stapleton," said Assembly Member Matthew Titone. "The expansion of this branch of the Public Library demonstrates that Stapleton is a growing and thriving Staten Island neighborhood."
"As we all know, libraries are about more than books," Council Member Domenic M. Recchia, Jr., chairman of the Committee on Cultural Affairs, Libraries & International Intergroup Relations. "They provide important services to the communities they serve, and this neighborhood has waited a very long time for this important expansion."
"In recent years, the local library has become an increasingly essential part of a community," said Department of Design and Construction Commissioner David J. Burney. "We are proud that our Stapleton library project will vastly increase the service area so people of every age and background will be able to gather, read, research, write and dream in a welcoming, state-of-the-art facility."
The renovation, designed by Andrew Berman Architect and overseen by the New York City Department of Design and Construction, will provide new areas for adults, teens and children, as well as a community room. The adjoining new building will feature 18-foot ceilings, attractive wood floors and a glass curtain wall to create light and space. Adult and teen reading areas will include new reading chairs, and the children's area will feature interactive educational games. The exterior of the building will be restored, including masonry and main entrance steps, windows, doors, landscaping and fencing. The project will also include a new HVAC system and new electrical wiring.
The Stapleton Branch of The New York Public Library, which opened in 1907, is located on Canal Street, near the center of Stapleton Village and adjacent to Tappen Park and the Old Village Hall. The single story, brick and limestone building was designed by Carrere and Hastings and constructed with funds provided by Andrew Carnegie. It was previously renovated in 1939 and 1953. Today the Stapleton Branch continues to be a center of community life. The branch serves its diverse neighborhood by presenting programs for all ages, providing access to computer technology and lending books, magazines and other media to inform, educate, and entertain. Programs include a book discussion group, picture book hours, preschool programs and arts & crafts programs for teens.
Stu Loeser / Andrew Brent (212) 788-2958
Heidi Singer (New York Public Library) (212) 592-7311
Matthew Monahan (Design and Construction) (718) 391-1641