NYC Public Libraries to Expand Services, Offer Browsing and Computer Use Beginning May 10

The City’s three library systems—The New York Public Library (NYPL), Brooklyn Public Library (BPL), and Queens Public Library (QPL)—will expand services to include browsing and computer use at select branches throughout the five boroughs beginning on Monday, May 10.

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 on May 10 in select locations, patrons will be able to browse shelves for a set period of time and make appointments to use computers at select locations. Additionally, in The New York Public Library Library system, patrons can access the research collections by appointment beginning on May 10. 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, they expect to add computer use and browsing to all of their grab-and-go locations in the coming weeks. They are also planning to provide outdoor programs in addition to continued virtual programs, classes, vaccination resources, and more. 

The systems are working towards opening additional locations this summer, and a full reopening as soon as possible in 2021. 

The branches opening on May 10 for expanded service 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

Manhattan

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

The branches selected were based on a number of factors, including proximity to public transportation, size, building condition, and location, with the goal of covering as much of the City as possible.

“The expansion of library services is a meaningful part of our city’s reopening and recovery,” said Linda E. Johnson, President and CEO of Brooklyn Public Library. “Brooklyn Public Library continued to serve our patrons through the pandemic and has long looked forward to welcoming them back to browse our shelves and use our technology. We know just how many Brooklynites desperately need access to computers and printers, and just how many miss the ritual of picking out a new book at their neighborhood branch. In addition to these new indoor services, we will offer outdoor reading rooms, WiFi, and programs for all ages. This is an important step toward fully and safely restoring in-person library service.”

“From the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Library has worked to safely offer New Yorkers the resources and services that we know they need. It has been a long, challenging year, and we are eager to restore library service to some semblance of normalcy,” said New York Public Library President Anthony W. Marx. “This 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. We will continue to work towards responsibly and carefully restoring additional services and opening additional locations over the coming weeks and months, and helping New York City through its next chapter of recovery and renewal.”

“Since we opened our branches for to-go service in July, we have gradually and thoughtfully expanded library services, putting the health and safety of our staff and our customers at the forefront of every decision we make as we look to fully reopen,” said Queens Public Library President and CEO Dennis M. Walcott. “Libraries are essential to building a strong, fair, and equitable city, especially in the face of a global health crisis. Given the current public health conditions, the growing need for our resources and the eagerness of our staff to provide more services to the public, now is the right time to take the next step. So I want to thank all our staff for their commitment and fortitude, our union leaders for their collaboration, and our customers and government partners for their support throughout our reopening process.”

About Brooklyn Public Library

Brooklyn Public Library is one of the nation’s largest library systems and among New York City’s most democratic institutions. As a leader in developing modern 21st century libraries, we provide resources to support personal advancement, foster civic literacy, and strengthen the fabric of community among the more than 2.6 million individuals who call Brooklyn home. We provide nearly 65,000 free programs a year with writers, thinkers, artists, and educators—from around the corner and around the world. And we give patrons millions of opportunities to enjoy one of life’s greatest satisfactions: the joy of a good book.

About The New York Public Library

For 125 years, The New York Public Library has been a free provider of education and information for the people of New York and beyond. With 92 locations—including research and branch libraries—throughout the Bronx, Manhattan, and Staten Island, the Library offers free materials, computer access, classes, exhibitions, programming and more to everyone from toddlers to scholars, and has seen record numbers of attendance and circulation in recent years. The New York Public Library receives approximately 16 million visits through its doors annually and millions more around the globe who use its resources at www.nypl.org. To offer this wide array of free programming, The New York Public Library relies on both public and private funding. Learn more about how to support the Library at nypl.org/support. 

About Queens Public Library

Queens Public Library is one of the largest and busiest public library systems in the United States, dedicated to serving the most ethnically and culturally diverse area in the country. An independent, non-profit organization founded in 1896, Queens Public Library offers free access to a collection of more than 5 million books and other materials in multiple languages, technology and digital resources, and more than 87,500 educational, cultural, and civic programs a year. It consists of 66 locations, including 62 ranch libraries, a Central Library, seven adult learning centers, a technology lab, one universal pre-kindergartens, and two teen centers.

Photo: @nypl