(New York, New York)- In an astounding economic and public relations move, the New York Public Library has announced that it will open an on-site petting zoo later this month. Evan R. Chesler, Chairman of the Board of Trustees confirmed the decision this morning.
Officials say the plan is in reaction to decreased patronage of the facility’s fifty-three million catalog items, and will result in optimal use of the space. “With everyone using Kindle and reading on-line, the library just doesn’t pack ’em in the way it used to. Some days it’s hardly even worth turning on the heat. We need to do something.”
The zoo, which will feature goats, llamas, rabbits, pigs, and a Shetland pony, will be moved in to the ornate Rose Main Reading Room, space said to be as vast as two city block..Aside from petting opportunities, small coin-operated machines will dispense edible pellets that patrons can feed to the menagerie.
“We’re really excited about this,” said Chesler. “Like any other institution, libraries need to change with the times. People aren’t interested in books much anymore, so it’s important to innovate. We hired some of the world’s leading marketers to make this happen, and I’m confident it will prove worthwhile.”
The project has not been without challenges. One bespectacled librarian, who asked not to be identified, said that leading the animals through the stacks to get to their new home, was troublesome:
“One of the llamas felt threatened and spewed vomit on the reference desk. It destroyed two thesauruses and sent one of my colleagues home in tears.”
Others have complained that the bleating and oinking of the beasts has created an acoustical nightmare. “The animal sounds do reverberate off the marbled ceilings, and some patrons have said they find this distracting,” said Chesler. “I think that in time, like with so many urban sounds, people will simply get used to it.”
And what of all the books that formerly filled the space? “We have donated many of them to those Free Little Libraries that have sprung up everywhere. We hit about two hundred of them between here and Hartford. Others we tore up to line cages with.”
The New York Public Library Petting Zoo will open to the public on May 15. Admission is free with an active New York Public Library card.
-Jonathan J. Donahue Staff Reporter.