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New York Public Library unveils controversial renovation plan for landmark 5th Avenue building

The New York Public Library has unveiled plans for a $300 million renovation of its landmark Fifth Avenue building that will more than double its public space and fireproof the majestic main reading room.

British architect Norman Foster's plan will open up space in the back of the building that is now occupied by stacks. A four-level atrium will have views of Bryant Park.

The renovation initially provoked controversy because the library proposed moving millions of books into storage in New Jersey to make room for a new circulating library.

The library presented a new plan Wednesday, and officials now say that 3.3 million of the research library's 4.5 million volumes will remain on site.

The library expects construction to begin in 2013 and be completed in 2018.

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