After more than a decade in operation, New York Public Library will close its Grand Central branch in December.
The Grand Central branch, located on East 46th Street, opened in 2009 as a temporary location to accommodate patrons during construction of the 53rd Street Library. Its lease expires at the end of this year, and the branch will close its doors on December 1, 2022.
“This decision was not easy, but after careful consideration, it is clear it is the right one,” the library’s President Tony Marx wrote in a statement published on Friday and emailed to Grand Central patrons.
While the Grand Central branch was always intended as temporary, its lease was extended in 2015 as construction at 53rd Street wore on and as the library faced a full renovation of its Stavros Niarchos Foundation Library (SNFL). The branch was known for its convenient location for commuters, local workers, and families living to the east.
Communities grow to love their libraries
“The Grand Central Library served midtown admirably, but now, with both 53rd Street and the 180,000-square-foot SNFL open nearby—two of the largest and most modern libraries in The New York Public Library system, representing a nearly $225 million investment in midtown we can no longer maintain this third, much smaller branch in close proximity to these new bigger branches,” Marx continued. “The Library has limited resources to serve this diverse city, and needs to be strategic and equitable about how it maintains its system and footprint. It is a challenge that requires tough decisions and this is one of them.”
Marx acknowledged that “this news is difficult” as “communities grow to love their libraries, even if they are temporary sites.”
The Grand Central library’s six full-time staff will continue to work in the New York Public Library system, and all the books from the branch will remain accessible in the library’s collection. In addition, the library is working to continue some of the branch’s programming at other nearby locations.