Good news for all of the bibliophiles out there: After a two-year renovation, the New York Public Library’s Rose Main Reading Room will reopen to the public on October 5—as in, less than a month from today.
The backstory behind the renovation is, of course, well-known: In 2014, one of the Reading Room’s plaster rosettes fell from the ceiling, and the library decided to spruce the whole place up once it was determined that the rosette would need replacing.
The Reading Room, along with the Bill Blass Catalog Room, has been off-limits since for more than two years while a team of experts—including Tishman Construction, Evergreene Architectural Arts, and WJE Architects & Engineers—evaluated and spiffed up the space. Once it reopens, visitors may not even fully realize what has changed; as the photos below (by intrepid Curbed photographer Max Touhey) show, the room looks basically the same, just … nicer.
But the improvements are myriad: In addition to replacing the rosette that started the whole thing, the team working on the ceiling reinforced the 900 other rosettes that were in place; each of the chandeliers was also cleaned and restored, and the light bulbs switched over to LEDs. The Blass Catalog room, meanwhile, had its whole ceiling mural replaced with a re-creation of the original, done by Evergreene.
When the Reading Room reopens, tours of the space will be available daily at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. But if you want to get a more thorough look at the restoration process, an exhibit titled "Preserving a Masterpiece: From Soaring Ceilings to Subterranean Storage," is currently on view through October 9. It’s a look at both the process of renovation the Reading Room, as well as the larger renovation of the library’s stacks below Bryant Park.