The LPC unanimously voted to designate the library at 192 East Broadway as a landmark after a campaign from local residents. The philanthropist Andrew Carnegie funded the construction of the three-story limestone Renaissance-inspired building, according to the New York Public Library.
"Throughout its history, this architecturally distinguished branch was a major cultural force on the Lower East Side and continues to function as an intellectual anchor for the neighborhood's diverse population to this day," Robert B. Tierney, chairman of the LPC, said in a statement.
The landmark designation protects only the building's facade, requiring any renovations or repairs to be approved by the LPC.
In its early days, the library served the neighborhood's mostly Jewish population, but now books can be found in English, Chinese, Spanish and Russian as well as Hebrew and Yiddish, reflecting the neighborhood's diversity, according to Friends of the Lower East Side, which advocated for the landmark designation.
The Seward Park Library underwent $6.3 million in renovations and reopened in 2004 with a new entrance as well as new technology including computers, wireless internet and air conditioning.
The shuttered Bialystoker Nursing home, nearby on East Broadway, received landmark designation in May.