The Historic Districts Council recognizes New York’s public library systems as one of the city’s most important resources. Each branch is an anchor in its community and is where countless generations of New Yorkers have been nurtured and enabled to flourish, regardless of their personal economic or social circumstances. Crucial to the libraries’ mission is the spaces they inhabit. Among these facilities, the most historically significant, and the most endeared by patrons, are our collection of Carnegie Libraries, those branches built more than a century ago with funds from the philanthropist Andrew Carnegie. HDC, the citywide advocate for New York’s historic neighborhoods and buildings, is currently spearheading a movement to raise awareness and protect these irreplaceable resources. Please make a gift now to help us adequately preserve these majestic structures for future generations.
Our strategy: The Historic District Council’s Campaign to Preserve the Carnegie Libraries is a multi-component project that will culminate in the nomination of the New York City Carnegie Libraries to the State and National Register of Historic Places as a significant thematic resource. Listing on the Registers would provide a variety of incentives for the libraries: they would be eligible for special funding of capital needs, demolitions or serious alterations would be prevented, and any appropriate alterations, renovations or restorations would have the added benefit of guidance from the New York State Office of Historic Preservation.
Our goal is to make sure our libraries can be updated and improved with the latest technology and programmatic resources while still respecting the buildings, which have so ably served New York’s population for more than a century. Indeed, several of the Carnegies, including Brooklyn’s Macon and Bedford branches, Manhattan’s St. Agnes and 67th Street branches, and the Bronx’s Hunt’s Point and Mott Haven branches have been renovated in recent years, adding state of the art technology while restoring period details and providing improved public access.
Much of the work has already been completed for the National Register nominations. Starting in 2009, HDC initiated a survey to document the existing Carnegie Libraries throughout New York City. We visited each branch, taking new detailed exterior and interior photographs, documenting existing and historic conditions and researching the rich history of each location. Now we need to raise $15,000 to complete this project and launch it into the public realm. Funding will be used to hire an architectural historian to conduct research necessary to complete the thematic National Register of Historic Places nomination for the Carnegie Libraries and finish photo documentation.
We hope you will now make a donation to help us successfully complete this worthy campaign. Only with your assistance can we make sure that the Carnegie branches in New York City are appropriately renovated, restored and cherished for future generations of New Yorkers to appreciate.