Strand on the Upper West Side is open for business! The doors opened this week for book lovers to come and enjoy the location. With a mask on of course.
NYPL's infamous lions, guarding the Bryant Park library, have been given face masks, in an effort to encourage humans - stone or otherwise - to do the same.
New York-based booklovers, rejoice! Your bank accounts and delivery drivers will soon be thanking you, because eight beloved New York Public Library locations will be opening with a grab-and-go service from July 13. In a statement from Anthony W. Marx, the library’s president, locations in Manhattan, the Bronx and Staten Island will be the first to open in the initial phase, followed by more as time goes on and the virus restrictions allow. Every branch of the NYPL closed its doors in mid-March, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Many have turned to e-books, using the library’s online catalog, or, like me, ended up spending a lot of cash on delivery.
What does grab-and-go entail, you ask? The official announcement has the answer:
This means that patrons can access a small area of each open branch to pick up and return materials that they’ve reserved. Patrons can start placing holds via our online catalog starting on Monday, July 6 in advance of the reopening, or via phone starting July 13.
The team at NYPL have staged the reopening to keep to government advice and suggestion, and have implemented a number of allowances and safety procedures. Each building will undergo intensive cleaning protocol, and protective measures such as plexiglass barriers. Additionally, all books returned will be quarantined for 72 hours – but without the Netflix and snacks that we’ve relied on!
Please note three accommodations that the Library is making during this period of limited service: First, fines on all items (those checked out before closure and those checked out during this first phase of limited service) will not accrue until October 1 at the earliest. Second, New Yorkers with digital library cards (which are normally only able to check out digital materials) will be able to use them to check out physical materials. Third, the Library will temporarily remove any fine-based blocks on patron accounts during this period of limited service.
With regards to hours, to begin with most locations will open for grab-and-go between 11am and 6pm Monday/Tuesday/Thursday, 12Noon and 7pm on Wednesday, and 11am and 5pm Friday/Saturday. The only exception is the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Library (formerly Mid-Manhattan Library), which will operate for grab-and-go between 10am and 6pm Monday-Friday, and 11am and 5pm on Saturday.
Taking care of staff and patrons is obviously paramount to the library, in this tentative phase of reopening, and as such they do ask that all patrons wear a mask to each branch, as per Cuomo’s objective. If this phase goes safely and smoothly, it will be time for open library doors before we know it! Happy and safe reading, everybody!
featured image via NYPL
Taking inspiration, and direct quotation, from voicemails, emails, and conversations with her grandmother, Bess tells Bobby’s story, and in doing so gives her her voice.
With the reemergence of independent bookstores and an ever-increasing nostalgia for the intimacy of physicality in a digital age, The Booksellers comes at an opportune time for any reader who puts their love for the paper-bound artifacts above all else. Directed by D.W. Young, this documentary focuses on the livelihoods and idiosyncrasies of New York’s finest antiquarian booksellers. They don’t sell what you can purchase online for two-day Prime shipping. These bibliophiles specialize in everything from leather-bound covers to hip-hop collections.
Young booksellers are seeing an increasing diversification in content and in the sellers themselves. Not every participant in the film looks like a literature professor at The University of Please Hold All Questions Until The End. That sentence itself has both racial, gender, and class implications that are transcended in the reality of bookselling. There are prominent black and POC booksellers, not only of independent bookshops, but also of literary rarities, who are highlighted in the film.
The Booksellers also addresses the industry’s climacteric: the rise of the Internet. The Internet plays a complicated role in the field. For younger sellers, it’s a demand to innovate, and, for older, it’s a demand to adapt. While companies like Amazon and Kindle have a monopoly over digital reads, their services are incomparable to the experience of browsing at a bookstore or a book fair.
Physical copies preserve history not simply in a tangible sense but in a cultural one. Maneuvering bookshelves, reveling over inscriptions and publication dates, and experiencing those joys in a space devoted to the thoughtful adoration of books elicits a tactile emotional response that clicking “Checkout” could never. The Booksellers is a fantastic watch for anyone who loves to read or anyone who needs to prove to their loved one why it’s of pivotal importance that they buy them that antique book on their wishlist.