A great many New Yorkers who conduct research on a regular basis are protesting the New York Public Library's "Central Library Plan," which, at a cost of three hundred million dollars, would entirely reshape the library's great main building on 42nd Street. Three million books are to be moved to offsite storage in New Jersey; a circulating library and computer center would take over the space currently dedicated to one of the world's major book collections. In a petition against the plan, Joan Scott, of the Institute for Advanced Study, writes, "NYPL will lose its standing as a premier research institution ... and become a busy social center where focused research is no longer the primary goal." If you wish to read more about the recent sequence of events at NYPL, go to the blog of Caleb Crain.
Update: Anthony Marx, the president of NYPL, has issued a statement in response to the uproar over the renovation plans. In part, it says: "Currently, there are approximately three million volumes in the closed stacks under the Rose Main Reading Room...I want to state unequivocally that there is no scenario in which fewer than two million volumes, about 95 percent of which would be from those closed stacks, will remain on-site at 42nd Street...Research materials that will remain on-site in the Central Library Plan will represent at least 90 percent of current research usage... [For the retrieval of off-site books] 24-hour turnaround is made possible by major service enhancements already in the works."