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New Roosevelt Island Library Opens

Contact: Shoshana Khan, (718) 391-1251,

(Roosevelt Island, NY – January 25, 2021) NYC Department of Design and Construction (DDC) Commissioner Lorraine Grillo today announced the opening of a new library at 504 Main Street on Roosevelt Island. The $7.8 million project, which began in October 2018, was managed by DDC for New York Public Library (NYPL).

library interior

The new Roosevelt Island Library achieves an LEED Silver rating for environmental sustainability

The new 5,200-square-foot library is more than double the size of the former NYPL branch at 524 Main Street and serves the needs of the growing Roosevelt Island community. The library occupies the first floor of a former school and meets LEED Silver standards for energy efficiency. Utilizing extensive open space, the site includes a multi-purpose community room, an audio induction loop to help the hearing impaired as well as a children’s room with glass doors and partitions to provide a sense of openness while also isolating the room acoustically.

“We are very pleased to join with our partners at NYPL to provide a new, larger and environmentally friendly library with space for community events plus children’s learning,” said DDC Commissioner Lorraine Grillo. “The DDC team worked diligently under very difficult circumstances created by the pandemic, but the final result is more than worth it.”

“As our resilient City enters a hopeful new year, the Library is proud to kick it off by giving Roosevelt Island the new library that they have long needed, wanted, and deserved,” said NYPL President Anthony Marx. “It’s a new beginning for a community that for so long has loved and relied on its library, a trusted center of life where patrons access information and open doors of opportunity. We are eager to welcome our neighbors to their new space and support them as they continue to weather unprecedented challenges and work towards recovery and a brighter future.”

childrens room

The Children’s Room is separated from the rest of the library by a noise-reducing glass partition

The library meets the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) with a vestibule that has automatic doors and a canopy to enhance public safety. The landscape surrounding the entry was reconstructed and includes new resilient plantings, an exterior book drop and bench seating that also serves as a local bus stop. The flexible space has shelving for books, computer stations, a reading area, a teen area, a circulation counter and restrooms. Spaces for staff include a private work area with pantry, a librarian’s office and IT and janitor closets. Mechanical equipment is located in the basement and on the roof to maximize public space within the library.

The library’s design meets the standards for LEED Silver Certification and contains several sustainability features including LED lighting, low flow plumbing fixtures, high-efficiency heating and air conditioning and the usage of sustainable materials with minimal levels of volatile organic compounds (VOCs).

Plans for the library were created through community feedback, surveys and public meetings as part of NYPL’s “Building for You” community engagement program. The project was designed by Smith-Miller + Hawkinson Architects under DDC’s Project Excellence Program. The contractor is XBR, Inc. based in Astoria, Queens. DDC substantially completed its work at the site on August 31.

library exterior and entrance

The exterior of the new Roosevelt Island Library at 504 Main Street includes bench seating for the adjacent bus stop

Funding for the project was provided by Mayor Bill de Blasio, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, City Council Member Ben Kallos and former City Council Member Jessica Lappin.


About the NYC Department of Design and Construction
The Department of Design and Construction is the City’s primary capital construction project manager. In supporting Mayor de Blasio’s long-term vision of growth, sustainability, resiliency, equity and healthy living, DDC provides communities with new or renovated public buildings such as firehouses, libraries, police precincts, and new or upgraded roads, sewers and water mains in all five boroughs. To manage this $15.5 billion portfolio, DDC partners with other City agencies, architects and consultants, whose experience bring efficient, innovative and environmentally-conscious design and construction strategies to City projects. For more information, please visit

About The New York Public Library
The New York Public Library is a free provider of education and information for the people of New York and beyond. With 92 locations—including research and branch libraries—throughout the Bronx, Manhattan, and Staten Island, the Library offers free materials, computer access, classes, exhibitions, programming, and more to everyone from toddlers to scholars, and has seen record numbers of attendance and circulation in recent years. The New York Public Library serves nearly 17 million patrons who come through its doors annually and millions more around the globe who use its resources at To offer this wide array of free programming, The New York Public Library relies on both public and private funding. Learn more about how to support the Library at