HARLEM — The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture is getting a $22 million facelift, officials announced Friday.
The ambitious renovation project includes installing a high-definition LED screen on the facade, new benches and landscape on Lenox Avenue, expansions to the gift shop and research spaces, and adding a new exhibition space for children.
“All of this makes for a really terrific start into the 21st Century and puts the Schomburg on its way its next 90 years,” said Director Dr. Khalil Gibran Muhammad.
The renovation comes at a time of growth at the research library, which is celebrating its 90th anniversary. Over the last three years their attendance has increased by 26 percent and program attendance by nearly 40 percent, according to NYPL President Tony Marx.
This is the most significant investment in the library named after Arturo Schomburg since its 1979 expansion, said the founder's grandson Dean Schomburg.
“I’m standing here thinking what my grandfather would have felt with what’s going on here today,” he said. “It would’ve been an enormous, enormous pleasure for him as it is for me to see what is happening.”
The research library’s reading room will get a makeover as will the video division. New storing and presentation equipment will make it easier for people to access historic recorded equipment, said Muhammad.
“Some of the Schomburg’s greatest treasures are locked in hiding in those spaces and will begin to see the light of day again,” he said.
Scaffolding is already up on the south side of the building. The project is expected to be completed sometime in 2017.