June 25, 2020 By Michael Dorgan
The Queens Public Library (QPL) has announced that it will reopen some of its local branches on July 13 with restrictions.
Seven locations will be open to the public for pickups and returns while nine additional sites will accept returns, President and CEO of Queens Public Library Dennis Walcott said.
It will mark the first time in nearly four months that QPL libraries will be open to the public following COVID-19 shutdowns. The library system shut all of its 66 branches on March 16 to stop the spread of the virus.
QPL will re-open locations gradually in order to protect the health and safety of library customers and staff, Walcott said.
“As we begin to step cautiously back into our physical spaces and welcome customers inside, we will continue to reimagine and expand our services and respond to the diverse needs of the public,” he said.
The first libraries to open for “to-go” services will be the Bayside Library, Bellerose Library, East Elmhurst Library, Kew Gardens Hills Library, Laurelton Library, Long Island City Library, and Peninsula Library. The sites were selected for their capacity to implement social distancing and other safety measures due to their size and layout.
All staff and customers at the libraries will be required to wear masks and practice physical distancing. Hand sanitizer will be available at all branches.
Customers will be able to pick up materials in a designated area of each building and returns can be made via exterior machines.
Opening hours at each location will be from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays. They will shut on each day from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. for cleaning.
The sites will be open on Tuesdays from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. and on Thursdays from 12 p.m. to 7 p.m. They will close on each day from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. for cleaning.
Customers can reserve materials from the libraries online or over the phone from July 6. The QPL app will also be available to take requests from this date.
The nine QPL libraries that will accept returns are Astoria Library, Cambria Heights Library, Central Library, Flushing Library, Jackson Heights Library, Queensboro Hill Library, Rego Park Library, Ridgewood Library, and South Ozone Park Library.
Returns will be accepted at external return machines but the libraries will remain closed to the public.
All QPL libraries in use during this initial stage will undergo extensive cleaning to limit the spread of COVID-19. All returned materials will be set aside for 72 hours before they are put back into circulation.
Other library services including on-site public programs, browsing, meeting room availability and access to public computers will be unavailable until further notice.
However, the Library’s Mail-a-Book home delivery service is set to resume.