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!