As the city inches closer to reopening following a devastating pandemic shutdown, New York’s three public library systems announced Thursday they will be opening some branches starting on May 10th for limited visits.
Brooklyn Public Library announced that in-person browsing and computer use will resume at 13 of its 66 branches, with a one-hour time limit on visits. Patrons will also have access to restrooms at the reopened branches.
The Queens Public Library will also reopen 14 branches for in-person services on May 10th, with visits restricted to 30 minutes. Computer sessions are available on a walk-in basis. The branches will allow access to restrooms, but no seating will be provided except at computers.
The New York Public Library plans to open “select locations on a rolling basis” starting with 12 branches in the Bronx, 8 branches in Manhattan and 6 on Staten Island. The research collections will finally reopen for appointments, including the iconic Stephen A. Schwarzman Building on Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street.
The NYPL will limit browsing visits to 30 minutes and computer sessions to 45 minutes, and no seating, general space use or restroom access will be available yet. Computer sessions must be reserved in advance. Patrons will need to have their temperatures checked before entering the libraries. Sneeze guards and other equipment will be installed at open branches and all returned materials quarantined for 24 hours, the NYPL said.
While many library branches in the city started offering “grab-and-go” pickup of reserved material last July, the May 10th reopening plans are the first time patrons will be allowed to linger and browse inside libraries in more than a year. Each library system also said the plan is to reopen more and more branches over the summer.
Masks will be required inside all library branches and capacity will be limited. The Queens Public Library said they will maintain a six-foot distancing rule. Brooklyn Public Library’s website said “desks and tables will be situated appropriately for social distancing, for both staff and patrons,” and the NYPL also said they’re following public health guidelines.
Here are the branches opening May 10th for limited service — click through on the locations for operating hours and other information:
Brooklyn Public Library
The New York Public Library (which covers the Bronx, Manhattan, and Staten Island)
Queens Public Library