It's a new chapter for New York City public libraries.
The New York Public Library, the Queens Public Library and the Brooklyn Public Library have reopened select branches for grab-and-go service after a nearly four-month-long closure.
You'll finally be able to return that book that's been due for months, and pick up new ones to read, but there are many new rules in place to know before you go.
First, you'll need to know which branches are open.
Currently Open: Manhattan's George Bruce, Epiphany, and Stavros Niarchos Foundation libraries, 53rd Street, 67th Street, Countee Cullen, Harry Belafonte-115th Street, Hudson Park, Riverside, Seward Park, Tompkins Square, Washington Heights libraries; Bronx’s Belmont, Francis Martin and Parkchester, with the Allerton, Baychester, Bronx Library Center, Castle Hill, City Island, High Bridge, Kingsbridge, Pelham Bay, Sedgwick, West Farms and Woodstock libraries; and Staten Island’s Richmondtown and Todt Hill-Westerleigh, with New Dorp and Stapleton libraries.
Opening on September 8:
The iconic Stephen A. Schwarzman Building on Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street is still temporarily closed but is offering expanded Electronic Document Delivery (EDD) service for all collections. Patrons will be able to request scans of eligible general collections material via the Shared Collections Catalog.
Hours for all of these grab-and-go branches will be 11am to 6pm on Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday; noon to 7pm on Wednesday; and 11am to 5pm on Friday and Saturday.
The Brooklyn Public Library has also opened the following branches: the Bay Ridge, Bushwick, Canarsie, Central, Clarendon, Coney Island, Cortelyou, Flatbush, Fort Hamilton, Homecrest, Kings Highway, Macon, New Lots, Park Slope, Red Hook, Stone Avenue, Williamsburgh libraries.
Hours are 10am to 4pm on Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday, and 1pm to 7pm on Tuesday and Thursday.
And the Queens Public Library has opened the following: the Astoria, Bayside, Bellerose, Cambria Heights, East Elmhurst, Jackson Heights, Kew Gardens Hills, Laurelton, Long Island City, Peninsula, Queensboro, Rego Park, Ridgewood, South Ozone and Whitestone libraries.
Hours will be 10am to 5pm, Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday (with a one-hour closure from 1 to 2pm for cleaning); 1 to 5pm on Tuesday; and noon to 7pm on Thursday (with a one-hour closure from 3 to 4pm for cleaning).
When you get to your branch, there will be new precautions in place you'll need to follow. All of them will have social distancing markers to help keep people six feet apart and specific areas to pick up and drop off your books.
In order to borrow books, you'll need to check them out online or over the phone first, so that when you go in to get them you simply grab them and go.
Visitors must follow these additional rules:
- They must wear masks
- Must physically distance from staff and other patrons
- Must respect capacity limits inside the open locations
- Must leave the libraries as soon as their pickups or returns are complete (at this stage, there will be no browsing, in-person reference, or computer use)
All returned books will be quarantined for 72 hours before being recirculated, so don't be afraid to check them out! You can also continue to access online programming, e-books, research databases, classes, and more virtually via the respective libraries' websites. And don't worry about that overdue book. Fines are being waived for books checked out before the closure and during this first phase of reopening.
If you're wondering why these specific branches are open, the three library systems worked together to create a plan that would serve as many people as possible as safely as possible. The looked at their proximity to public transportation, their size and building condition, as well as their locations.
"We know how important it is to reopen our physical locations," Anthony W. Marx, president of The New York Public Library, said in a statement. "We know that our communities need us more than ever as they cope with multiple crises impacting public health, the economy, and social justice. People are hurting. People need help. People need us. We have a plan to reopen thoughtfully and carefully, with the safety of our staff and patrons as our first priority. This first group of branches is only the first step in that plan, but an important one. We hope to safely open more locations soon."
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