On Tuesday, June 11, 2013, The New York Public Library (NYPL), which operates libraries on the isle of Manhattan, Staten Island, and The Bronx, re-opened the Stapleton Branch Library at 132 Canal Street (at Wright Street) on Staten Island. The original Carnegie Library has undergone a renovation and a new addition has more than doubled the building’s size.
The one-story, 12,000-square foot branch officially opened in a public ribbon-cutting ceremony on June 11th with community leaders and library staff. The United States Coast Guard participated in the event, attended by residents and nearby students. A day of public programs for all ages followed.
“We are so proud to offer the Stapleton community this much-needed and highly anticipated branch,” said NYPL President Tony Marx. “Libraries are being used more than ever, and their importance to neighborhoods and to all residents of New York City cannot be overstated. We know how much the residents of Stapleton wanted and needed their library back, and we’re so happy to say that it’s back and better than ever, now able to adequately serve the needs of this community. We welcome everyone to visit, and we thank our elected officials for making this important renovation necessary.”
Carrere & Hastings designed the original 4,800-square-foot branch library building, a Carnegie Library erected in 1907. The Stapleton Library now includes a light-filled, sleek, 7,000-square-foot addition connected to the Carnegie library, which has been renovated as the new children’s room.
The $15,200,000 project was designed by Andrew Berman Architects and constructed by the City of New York’s Department of Design and Construction. The firm states on its Web site, “The new structure is to be constructed of glue laminated Douglas fir posts, beams and joists, with a Douglas fir roof deck. The framed structure will be exposed. The structurally glazed façade be ‘applied’ to the structural posts within the building. The library is designed to be an open, accessible, and intimate building.”
The new interior features include reading rooms, lounges and areas for toddlers, children, teens and adults; ADA accessibility; forty new public access desktop computers and ten laptops available for patron use; WiFi capability; and a multipurpose community room. There will also be about 35,000 collection items available for the public. The year before the branch was closed to begin construction, 90,000 items were checked out.
The NYPL stated it is “is deeply grateful to Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, City Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn, City Council Member Debi Rose, Former Council Member Mike McMahon, Former Council Member Ken Mitchell, Staten Island Borough President James P. Molinaro, New York State Senator Diane J. Savino; New York State Assemblyman Matthew Titone, Congressman Michael Grimm, David J. Burney, Commissioner, City of New York Department of Design and Construction, and Virginia James for their support of the critically-important project.”
“We sought to create a library that is an inviting and dignified public space for the community,” said architect Andrew Berman. “The original Carnegie Library has been restored and repurposed as the Children’s Reading Room. The open, daylight filled new addition houses the teen and adult collections as well as extensive digital media. Together, this library is a unified whole that embraces the NYPL’s history and its future as a vital public institution.”
“Libraries are the cornerstones of our communities, and the new-and-improved Stapleton branch will give Staten Island a wonderful neighborhood resource,” said Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg. “This renovation will give Stapleton families even more to do at the library, with new computers, more space and new free programming.”
“Some of my fondest memories as a child were spent in a library, pouring over books for hours,” said City Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn. “Libraries foster a love of reading and learning and are a tremendous, trusted resource to communities across the five boroughs. The reopening of the newly improved Stapleton Library branch will not only benefit the residents of Staten Island but future generations of New Yorkers as well. I thank everyone who made today possible, including The New York Public Library President Anthony Marx, Council Member Deborah Rose and Mayor Michael Bloomberg.”
“I’m looking forward to the re-opening of the Stapleton branch of the New York Public Library. I am pleased to have allocated $750,000 in capital funding toward the renovation of this historic library,” said City Councilwoman Debi Rose, who toured the Stapleton Library prior to the re-opening. “The building is an architectural jewel! I was delighted to see the original brick and limestone edifice — built by industrialist Andrew Carnegie in 1907 – was restored. Inside, I was also pleased to see the library equipped with state-of-the art computers. I know that the children and families of Stapleton will enjoy and utilize the resources this beautiful state-of-the art library has to offer.”
“I am pleased that the Stapleton Branch of the New York Public Library will be reopening to the community,” said Staten Island Borough President James P. Molinaro. “The library provides important services to people of all ages, but especially our children. I have said that children are 25% of our population, but 100% of our future, and that when children learn to read, they can read to learn for the rest of their lives. The new Stapleton Library will be a great resource for this neighborhood, and will provide many generations to come with educations and recreational programs and opportunities.”
“Stapleton is in the middle of a renaissance from the waterfront development of the Rail and the Homeport, to the Gerald Carter Recreation Center and New Senior Housing at Stapleton Houses, to the historic hillside; all of which is centered on a redesigned Tappen Park and of course the rehabilitation and expansion of our beloved Stapleton Library,” State Senator Diane Savino noted. “The renaissance of Stapleton, will establish it once again as a major shopping and recreation destination, which will now include a state of the art library for all children and residents to enjoy the gift of reading, education and skills classes and everything Stapleton Library will offer, I am thrilled the Stapleton Library is back as is every Staten Islander.”
“I am excited to see that the Stapleton Branch of the New York Public Library is reopening, bigger and better than ever before, with more space, more computers and Wi-Fi,” said Assemblyman Matthew Titone. “The newly renovated building will be an incredible asset to the community, helping better prepare children and adults to become 21st century leaders.”
“The newly renovated Stapleton library provides a warm and welcoming environment with endless learning opportunities,” said Rep. Michael Grimm. “The new amenities will serve members of the community with resources for all ages and generations. Our greatest strength is our knowledge, and I am pleased that the doors of the Stapleton Library have reopened to foster growth through learning and education.”
“The new Stapleton branch combines the best elements of the original Carnegie library building with a light-filled, modern addition,” said David Resnick, AIA, Deputy Commissioner of the New York City Department of Design and Construction. “This happy marriage of historic and new elements has more than doubled the library’s public space, created a welcoming entrance, and brought the library into the 21st century. It was a pleasure to work with architect Andrew Berman, general contractor Plaza Construction, and our partners at the New York Public Library to provide this beautiful new library for the people of Staten Island.”
The Stapleton Library will be open Mondays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.; Tuesdays from 12:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.; and Fridays and Saturdays from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. It is closed on Sundays. The phone number there is (718) 727-0427.