Posted on February 02, 2010
New York loves its libraries. New hardcovers that you don’t have to buy! A place that’s not your cramped living room to sit and read! Surreptitious glances at People Magazine! Now New Yorkers have somewhere old-but-new-again to hang out and read. One of New York’s City original libraries is reopening to the public after a 2-year, $9.5 million renovation. The St. Agnes Branch, on New York’s Upper West Side (44 Amsterdam Avenue, near 81st Street; 212 621-0619) opened its doors to the public in 1906. Before that, it was a parish library; it also housed a collection of books for the blind. It’s one of New York’s 67 original branch libraries, and has been in is present location since 1906. Although the official opening ceremony is next week (Feb. 11); the branch is already open.
The three-story building was built with funds given to the city by steel magnate and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie; they were designated for library branches to be built across the city. It was built by the firm of Babb, Cook and Willard. (In 1901, they also designed a mansion for Andrew Carnegie; it now houses the Cooper Hewitt Design Museum.) What’s new? An entire floor dedicated to children’s books; 40 public computers; and a new story-hour room. The Feb. 11 event will include a day of free events, from a morning ceremony to a branch tour to programs for kids and teens (balloon animals; magic; a singing program for preschoolers; gaming with Nintendo Wii) to a neighborhood history talk and job workshops. So get out there and welcome back an old friend--with some great new facilities.