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Inspired by the feedback that President Mills heard in spring 2023 during her listening tour as well as research conducted by the Division of Libraries, we have significantly reimagined the first floor of NYU’s flagship library for the first time since Bobst opened in 1973.

The NYU community can now experience more welcoming spaces to easily and comfortably meet, work together, study, and exchange ideas. The redesign of Bobst’s first floor features new furniture, increased seating, improved lighting, a new study space layout, and more. These thoughtful changes have transformed the character of Bobst’s first floor — making it more inclusive and creating better spaces for students, faculty, researchers, staff, alumni, and visitors from New York City and around the world to convene, engage, and collaborate.

In the roughly five decades since Bobst Library opened, a great deal has changed about the ways we study, learn, and conduct research. The extensive refresh of the library’s first floor enabled us to address comments from the community about the utility and adaptability of existing areas; the age and performance of fixtures and furniture; and the overall sensory experience.

In keeping with Bobst Library’s architectural history and significance, NYU has partnered with award-winning architect Billie Tsien, whose work has been recognized with a National Medal of Arts from President Obama, the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Award, and the New York City AIA Medal of Honor, to name just a few accolades.

The design was inspired by John W. Draper’s lunar daguerreotype, one of the first successful images of the moon. The daguerreotype was taken c. 1840 by Draper, an NYU professor as well as one of the founders of the NYU School of Medicine. The object, held by NYU’s Special Collections, was selected as a reflection on and celebration of NYU’s place in photographic history.

As part of this project, there will be opportunities to provide feedback on what you see changing in the library. Your input will help us fine tune our improvements, as well as plan for future renovations. Sign up for our newsletter, LibLink, or follow us on Instagramfor updates and chances to tell us what you think. We’ll also have in-person opportunities to talk with library staff involved with the project. User feedback catalyzed- these efforts; your input will continue to propel our work forward.

Highlights of Improvements

This first phase of rethinking how Bobst’s first floor can best serve the NYU community has transformed the central atrium area, the gallery area to the west, and the study area to the south. Highlights include:

  • Increased electrical outlets throughout the first floor, including in some furniture
  • New furniture, including more soft seating such as sofas and a variety of seating styles
  • New study space layout, including both individual and group study
  • Updated lighting, including table and floor lamps
  • Addition of acoustic wall paneling to help dampen sound and echoes
  • New banquette seating along the west and south walls
  • Refreshed carpet throughout
  • Updated color palette and patterns