Get us in your inbox


See inside NYPL's brand new Roosevelt Island branch

The 5,200-square-foot library opens on January 25 for grab-and-go service

Shaye Weaver
Written by
Shaye Weaver

Roosevelt Island's New York Public Library branch has doubled in size.

On Monday, the NYPL finally opened its newest branch at 504 Main Street—a former school—with 16,000 books, 29 computer workstations, a community room, a reading room for adults, a teen area, a separate children's area, a book drop and an outdoor bench/bus stop.

The new 5,200-square-foot library, which was designed by Smith-Miller + Hawkinson Architects and built by the New York City Department of Design and Construction for $7.8 million, is now open with grab-and-go service from 11am to 5pm, Monday through Saturday.

The branch was originally started in 1976 by Dorothy and Herman Reade—Forest Hills, Queens residents who retired to Roosevelt Island—in a community room at 25 Main St. It moved to its current spot in 1982 but didn't join the NYPL system until 1998.

Roosevelt Island NYPL
Photograph: Courtesy Jonathan Blanc / NYPL

"As our resilient city enters a hopeful new year, the library is proud to kick it off by giving Roosevelt Island the new library that they have long needed, wanted, and deserved," said Anthony Marx, the president of the NYPL. "It’s a new beginning for a community that for so long has loved and relied on its library, a trusted center of life where patrons access information and open doors of opportunity. We are eager to welcome our neighbors to their new space and support them as they continue to weather unprecedented challenges and work towards recovery and a brighter future."

The branch was designed with community feedback and is fully ADA accessible and includes an audio induction loop to help the hearing impaired. It was built with ecological materials, including high-efficiency HVAC and other mechanical equipment. It will also incorporate automated LED lighting, low flow plumbing fixtures, and minimal levels of volatile organic compounds.

Roosevelt Island NYPL
Photograph: Courtesy Jonathan Blanc / NYPL

“We are so excited to welcome patrons to this beautiful, modern branch, which is much-anticipated and will allow us to best serve our community,” said Carlos Chavez, Library Manager of the Roosevelt Island branch. “It is exactly what our patrons need, and we look forward to opening the doors, turning the page, and getting to work.” 

“After years of anticipation, we’re thrilled to welcome this much-needed innovative and accessible library with its thoughtful services, bridging urban and modern designs,” adds Shelton J. Haynes, Acting President & CEO of Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation.
“We’re thankful for such a technologically advanced, spacious, and essential resource that will act as a place where our community can borrow adventure in a time when it’s most needed.”

For more information on the NYPL's grab-and-go service, reopening policies, current initiatives, and digital resources visit its website. 

Most popular on Time Out

- See the inauguration Bernie meme in iconic NYC scenes
- The best things to do in NYC this weekend
- The most famous paintings of all time
- Ski near NYC with these day trips
- New York to resume indoor dining—except NYC

Want to know what’s cool in the city before your friends do? Sign up to our newsletter for the latest and greatest from NYC and beyond.

Popular on Time Out

    Latest news