June 22, 2017

The ceiling in the Rose Reading Room is broken again


After a piece of plaster fell from the ceiling of the New York Public Library’s iconic Rose Reading Room in 2014, the space was closed off for a staggering two-and-a-half years. (At the time, spokesman Ken Weine said that “the library expected the inspection to last several weeks.”)

There was much fanfare when The Room finally opened again last October. This time-lapse video of The Room’s 52,000 reference books being re-shelved is weirdly soothing:

But, anyway, now the ceiling is broken again. For the New York Post, Tamar Lapin and Bruce Golding report that, earlier this week, “An electrician accidentally stuck his foot through [the] $12 million ceiling in the main branch of the New York Public Library—twice—sending chunks of plaster raining down near visitors.”

Angela Montefinise, a spokeswoman for the library, explained that the electrician “lost his footing and accidentally punctured the ceiling.” Apparently metal bars spanning the ceiling—which is more than 50 feet high—“saved [him] from crashing through the ceiling to his likely doom.”

The library has yet to determine how much it will cost (or how much time it will take) to repair the damage, but the room was reopened after the ceiling was “deemed safe.”

For more on the preservation of the NYPL, allow us to suggest Scott Sherman’s essential Patience and Fortitude: Power, Real Estate, and the Fight to Save a Public Library, an instant classic when we published in 2015, and forthcoming in paperback this September.


Taylor Sperry is a former Melville House editor.