The New York Public Library will rename its Fifth Avenue at 42nd Street branch after Wall Street financier Stephen A. Schwarzman, who will donate $100 million of his own money to aid the $1 billion expansion of the library system. The New York Times reports that the project aims to transform the Central Library into a destination for book borrowing as well as research. The Mid-Manhattan branch, on the east side of Fifth Avenue at 40th Street, will be sold and its circulating collection absorbed into the new space. The gift from Mr. Schwarzman, a library trustee and buyout guru who made fortune as the chief executive of the Blackstone Group, is among the largest to any cultural institution in the city’s history.
The 1911 Beaux Arts structure on Fifth Avenue will be called the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building after construction is completed around 2014. The building is protected by landmark status, and the library expects the name to be etched on the building should approval be granted by the city’s Landmarks Preservation Commission.
"We hope to incise the name of the building in stone in a subtle, discreet way on either side of the main entrance about three feet off the ground," said Paul LeClerc, president of the library’s board of trustees. "It’s in keeping with the dignity of the building."
In an e-mail message on Monday. Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg said, “With this donation, Steve is giving back to the city that gave him so much and is helping ensure that New York remains a cultural and intellectual capital of the world.”
The project reflects a new resolve among library officials to adjust to a shifting information world and become more responsive to city residents. “We’re more focused on what people want from us,” Mr. LeClerc said in an interview. “It’s a mindset change.”