July 13, 2020 By Michael Dorgan
The Queens Public Library (QPL) has opened some of its local branches for the first time in nearly four months.
Seven locations opened to the public for pickups and returns today while nine additional sites are now accepting returns.
The library system shut all of its 66 branches on March 16 to stop the spread of COVID-19.
The first libraries open for the “to-go” services are Bayside Library, Bellerose Library, East Elmhurst Library, Kew Gardens Hills Library, Laurelton Library, Long Island City Library, and Peninsula Library.
The move represents the first phase of libraries reopening across the city. The “to go” services are being offered at 22 libraries across all five boroughs– starting today.
Each branch in Queens will have a designated area for customers to pick up and return orders placed online or via phone. The QPL app is live and can also be used to make requests.
Customers and staff are required to wear masks and social distancing guidelines are being enforced.
Opening hours at each of the Queens locations are from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays. On these days, the branches are shut from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. for cleaning.
The sites are open on Tuesdays from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. and on Thursdays from 12 p.m. to 7 p.m. They are closed on Thursdays from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. for cleaning.
The nine QPL libraries that are now accepting 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 are accepted at external return machines but the libraries will remain closed to the public.
Checked out materials will not accrue fines until Oct, 1, 2020 at the earliest, and current library card blocks for late returns are being temporarily lifted.
Applications for new library cards are only being accepted online and can be picked up at any “to-go” service branch.
All QPL libraries in use during this initial stage will undergo extensive cleaning to limit the spread of COVID-19.