Libraries aren’t quite what they used to be ― for better or for worse. Once homes for physical books, they’re now community centers, research aids, and spots where the internet can be accessed by those who can’t afford to front such a bill themselves.
The New York Public Library has faced this paradox in recent years: how to provide these helpful services, while also allotting funds to, you know, the preservation and distribution of books?
In 2014, the building’s most majestic public space ― the Rose Main Reading Room ― was closed due to ceiling construction, and the book-lined walls, which looked like something straight out of “Beauty and the Beast,” were stripped in the process.
Earlier this month, the Rose Main Reading Room was finally reopened, with a pristinely restored ceiling and, yes, shelves and shelves full of books. 52,000 books, to be more precise.
The library shot a time lapse video of the physical books’ triumphant return. You can watch the transformation above, in a two-minute video that encapsulates what looks like a very daunting task.