Coronavirus Update New York City: NYC public libraries will reopen, Mayor de Blasio says

Coronavirus update for NYC

ByEyewitness News WABC logo
Monday, May 10, 2021
NYC public libraries are back, de Blasio says
Mayor Bill de Blasio made the announcement on city public libraries during a briefing Monday.

NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- Mayor Bill de Blasio announced New York City public libraries will reopen starting Monday.

The city's three public library systems -The New York Public Library (NYPL), Brooklyn Public Library (BPL), and Queens Public Library (QPL) -are now expanding service at select locations to include limited browsing and computer use.

BPL and NYPL are offering by-appointment computer use, and QPL is taking walk-ins.

"New Yorkers have faced unprecedented challenges in the last year, and we know how much they need their libraries as they prepare to enter a chapter of recovery and renewal," said New York Public Library President Anthony W. Marx. "While we have acted as a lifeline for so many with ebooks and virtual programs and services, we have missed seeing our patrons in our branches, and have been eager to return to some semblance of normalcy. Today's expansion of service -- including computer use, critical for patrons who do not have internet access at home -- is a significant and welcome step in that direction, and we are now looking forward to opening all of our locations in July. We have been waiting a long time to serve our communities with our full complement of services. It feels good to know we're well on our way."

Officials also shared that they plan to open all available branch libraries in the city (except those undergoing renovation or being used by the City) with expanded service by mid-July, with the full complement of services such as general space use, programs, and classes incrementally reinstituted as quickly as circumstances allow.

The three systems, which closed their physical locations in March 2020 to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, have been carefully and gradually reopening locations and reinstituting services to safely serve the New Yorkers who need them.

In addition to a robust suite of virtual programs and resources, including e-books, online storytimes, virtual book clubs, and remote homework help, resume assistance, and job search help, the libraries began offering grab-and-go book pickup and on-site library card sign-up in July 2020.

Beginning Monday in select grab-and-go locations, patrons will also be able to browse shelves for a set period of time and make appointments to use desktop computers.

Additionally, in The New York Public Library system, patrons can request an appointment to access collections at research centers, including the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building on 42nd Street and Fifth Avenue.

All patrons in all systems must follow safety protocols, including wearing masks, social distancing, and respecting time limits to ensure that as many patrons as possible can utilize services.

While the library systems are closely monitoring circumstances in the city, libraries expect to add computer use and browsing to all of their grab-and-go locations in the coming weeks and then incrementally open locations until they are all open by mid-July.

They are also planning to provide a suite of outdoor programs and continued virtual programs, classes, vaccination resources and more.

The branches expanding services today are:

Brooklyn Public Library

- Brownsville

- Canarsie

- Central

- Clinton Hill

- Coney Island

- Crown Heights

- Flatbush

- Ft. Hamilton

- Greenpoint

- Kings Highway

- Midwood

- Mill Basin

- Red Hook

The New York Public Library (which covers the Bronx, Manhattan, and Staten Island)

- Bronx

- Allerton

- Baychester

- Belmont

- Edenwald

- Francis Martin

- High Bridge

- Jerome Park

- Kingsbridge

- Parkchester

- Van Cortlandt

- West Farms

- Woodstock


- 53rd Street

- 125th Street

- Belafonte-115th Street

- Countee Cullen

- Epiphany

- Morningside Heights

- Seward Park

- Washington Heights

Staten Island

- Huguenot Park

- New Dorp

- Richmondtown

- St. George Library Center

- Stapleton

- Todt Hill-Westerleigh

Queens Public Library

- Arverne

- Astoria

- Auburndale

- Bellerose

- Cambria Heights

- East Elmhurst

- Elmhurst

- Hillcrest

- Long Island City

- Peninsula

- Queensboro Hill

- Richmond Hill

- Ridgewood

- Rochdale Village

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