May 10, 2021 By Christina Santucci
The Queens Public Library (QPL) reopened 14 branches today where patrons are now able to enter the facility, browse the collections in-person and use the computers for limited periods of time.
The 14 “in-person” reopenings mark a milestone for QPL, since up until now the library system has only been reopening its branches on a “to-go” basis—where users are only able to order books online and then pick them up in a designated area of a branch. Computer use and book browsing is also not permitted under the “to-go” model.
The 14 branches that are now open on an “in-person” basis include: Averne, Astoria, Auburndale, Bellerose, Cambria Heights, East Elmhurst, Elmhurst, Hillcrest, Long Island City, Peninsula, Queensboro Hill, Richmond Hill, Ridgewood, and Rochdale Village.
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.
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-got” service.
QPL along with 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, starting on July 13.
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.