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The E-Sylum: Volume 20, Number 13, March 26, 2017, Article 36

NEW YORK PUBLIC LIBRARY UNDERGROUND STORAGE

John Lupia writes:

Another reason my numismatists should be deeply involved in stamps is reading The Philatelic Literature Review, which had the story about the APS library move, and others including the NYPL. I thought NBS members and E-Sylum readers might like this.

John forwarded this August 17, 2016 Atlas Obscura article about the amazing underground storage area at the New York Public Library. -Editor

New York PublicLibrary underground This summer, several times a week, a 30-foot truck filled with rough wooden shelves of books has arrived early in the morning at the New York Public Library’s flagship research library. Each truckload contains thousands of books, which have been sitting for the past three years at a storage facility upstate.

Now, 1.5 million books are migrating home, although not to the shelves they once occupied, in the library’s old stacks beneath the Rose Main Reading Room. From the loading dock, the shelves are moved through the maze below the library, until they are two levels below the ground, underneath Bryant Park, which stretches like a lawn before the Beaux-Arts building.

In this subterranean section of the library, you can accidentally walk a city block if you don’t plan right. The basement corridors pass by black pillars that carry the weight of the main reading room and by the stonework from the reservoir that once held the city’s drinking water. On the floor, red and yellow arrows guide the way, to a door through which only a few dozen people are allowed to pass.

“We want to keep our collection safe,” says Johannes Neuer, the library’s director of customer experience, who’s in charge of the books’ big move back to the library. “Once we go to the second level, you’ll understand why it’s very important that only people who know what they’re doing are allowed in the space.”

It is a beautifully cool 65 degrees down here, with 40 percent relative humidity, and there’s a new electric trolley system, in which books can be sent off to reading rooms upstairs in bright red carts. Most importantly, there is space for 2.5 million books.

This underground lair of books was part of a resolution to a tumultuous dispute over the library’s future.

To read the complete article, see:
The New York Public Library is Moving 1.5 Million Books to an Underground Lair (www.atlasobscura.com/articles/the-new-york-public-library-is-moving-15-million-books-to-an-underground-lair)

To read earlier E-Sylum articles, see:
NEW YORK PUBLIC LIBRARY UNVEILS BOOK TRAIN (www.coinbooks.org/esylum_v19n39a32.html)
NEW YORK PUBLIC LIBRARY READING ROOM NOW READY (www.coinbooks.org/v20/esylum_v20n08a37.html)



Wayne Homren, Editor

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The Numismatic Bibliomania Society is a non-profit organization promoting numismatic literature. See our web site at coinbooks.org.

To submit items for publication in The E-Sylum, write to the Editor at this address: whomren@gmail.com

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