May 14, 2021 By Allie Griffin
A dozen Queens Public Library (QPL) branches throughout the borough will open for in-person browsing and computer use next week.
The 12 locations will reopen on Monday, May 24. They will be in addition to the 14 branches that opened for in-person use on Monday, May 10.
The branches to reopen for browsing and computer use on May 24 include: Briarwood, Fresh Meadows, Jackson Heights, Laurelton, Lefrak City, Maspeth, Mitchell-Linden, Rego Park, South Ozone Park, St. Albans, Sunnyside, and Whitestone.
The library system had only been allowing “to-go” service in which patrons ordered books online and picked them up in a designated area at the branch location. That changed last week with the reopening of the first 14 locations.
At these newly reopened “in-person” branches, visitors can peruse materials, place requests for other items, pick up books and media they requested, get help from reference services and use the computer and printers. Bathrooms will also be open to patrons.
Library officials said customers should limit visits to 30 minutes or less, and the number of patrons allowed in each branch at a given time will be limited. Seating will only be available at stations with public computers.
Visitors are required to wear face masks inside the libraries and stay at least six feet away from other patrons.
“Our goal is to provide a safe environment for our staff and customers as we continue to expand our services to the public, and help the city recover from one of the most challenging periods in its history,” Queens Public Library President Dennis M. Walcott said in a statement.
Queens Public Library expects to gradually reopen other branches for “in-person” service in the coming months. The system has 66 branches, with 39 now having been reopened for either “in person” or “to-go” service.
QPL and the city’s two other library systems – The New York Public Library and Brooklyn Public Library – plan to reopen all branches throughout the city by mid-July, with the exception of locations undergoing renovation or being used by the city for other purposes.
Queens Public Library had closed its physical locations on March 16, 2020 to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus, and gradually reopened branches for to-go service, in July.
At libraries open for to-go pick ups, patrons can request items online, through the QPL app or by phone and then pick up the books and media in a designated area of each branch. Those returning items can drop them off at machines located on the exterior of the buildings.
More information about the Queens Public Library’s reopening plan is available on its website.