Update: June 25, 2020, 10:00AM
QPL’s “To-Go” Service Starts July 13 at 7 Branches
Dear Queens Public Library Customer,
I am very pleased to announce that Queens Public Library will reopen seven branches across the borough with “to-go” service and returns six days a week, starting on Monday, July 13. Nine additional locations will accept returns around the clock, seven days a week.
These initial steps to gradually reopen our physical locations while protecting the health and safety of our staff and the public are part of the Library’s reopening plan, QPL’s Path Forward in the Era of COVID-19.
The following seven branches will provide to-go service for customer pickup of materials in a designated area of each building and will accept returns at their exterior return machines. Materials can be requested online, through the QPL app, or by phone, starting July 6.
- Bayside Library
- Bellerose Library
- East Elmhurst Library
- Kew Gardens Hills Library
- Laurelton Library
- Long Island City Library
- Peninsula Library
The hours at each of these locations will be: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday (with a one-hour closure from 1 to 2 p.m. for cleaning); 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Tuesday; and 12 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Thursday (with a one-hour closure from 3 to 4 p.m. for cleaning).
In addition to their geographic location, the seven sites were selected for their size, layout, and condition as we assess whether and how the new service model and operating procedures, including physical distancing and other safety measures, would work in other libraries.
The following group of nine locations will accept returns at external return machines or book drops but remain closed to the public. They will be open to staff for fulfilling materials requests and supporting our other functions.
- Astoria Library
- Cambria Heights Library
- Central Library
- Flushing Library
- Jackson Heights Library
- Queensboro Hill Library
- Rego Park Library
- Ridgewood Library
- South Ozone Park Library
UPDATE 7/8/20: the return machine at Flushing Library is currently out of service. We apologize for any inconvenience.
In addition, our Mail-a-Book home delivery service will resume.
Each of the buildings that will be in use during this stage will undergo extensive cleaning, and spaces will be configured for physical distancing. In accordance with expert recommendations, all returned materials will be set aside, or “quarantined,” for 72 hours before they are put back into circulation.
All staff and visitors will be required to wear masks and practice physical distancing. Hand sanitizer will be available at all open branches. At this time, there will be no on-site public programs, browsing, meeting room availability, seating, public computers, or in-person reference service, and book donations will not be accepted.
Customers can check out materials without accruing fines until October 1, 2020 at the earliest, and fine-based library card blocks will be temporarily lifted. Applications for library cards will be accepted online only, and cards can be picked up at one of the locations offering to-go service.
Depending on the experiences of the initial locations and as circumstances allow, we will gradually and carefully open more branches and provide additional services. In the meantime, we remain committed to offering virtual programs, eBooks, and other online resources, which we know have been vital for many of you.
Thank you for your support and understanding as we navigate our new realities together. The Library’s incredible staff are working hard to prepare for this next step, and we look forward to welcoming you back safely.
Dennis M. Walcott
President and CEO, Queens Public Library
P.S. You can also read this list of Frequently Asked Questions to learn more about the first stage of our reopening.
Update: June 4, 2020, 11:00AM
A Plan to Reopen Our Physical Locations
In the past three months, New York City has endured unprecedented heartache, economic hardship, and turmoil as we confront the COVID-19 pandemic and the manifestations of racial injustice across the country and here at home. It is at times like these when we especially miss being able to offer a welcoming physical place where people can gather, connect and celebrate the richness of our diversity, and where we can look them in the eye and ask what we can do to help.
It seems that the world now demands even more of us than the one we left behind when we temporarily shut the doors of our 66 locations on March 16. Since then, we have strengthened our resolve to meet our mission, delivering critical services and resources remotely and offering everyone, no matter who they are or where they come from, the chance to realize the promise of their lives.
At the same time, we have been thoughtfully and carefully formulating a plan for our locations’ eventual reopening, keeping at the forefront of our minds the health and safety of the public and our staff. While we are still working through many of the details, I would like to share with you how and when in-person service is expected to resume.
We, along with the Brooklyn and New York public library systems, aim to start reopening our physical locations in mid-July, barring unforeseen circumstances. Our plan will be continuously refined as we open each branch, and informed by city, state and federal guidance, executive orders, and laws, information and recommendations from public health authorities and the experiences of other organizations around the world.
The Library will reopen its locations for public service in stages, starting with six to eight branches where customers can make returns and pick up requested materials in a designated area of each building.
Prior to their reopening, the buildings will undergo extensive cleaning, and our staff will configure spaces for social distancing. In accordance with the latest guidance, all returned materials will be set aside, or “quarantined,” for a period of time based on national standards before they are put back into circulation.
All visitors will be required to wear masks, and we will provide masks to people who do not have them. All Queens Public Library staff also will be required to wear masks, and hand sanitizer will be available at all open branches. At this time, there will be no public programs, browsing, meeting room availability, chairs and tables for public use, public computers, or in-person reference service. Book donations will not be accepted.
We will continue to increase our collection of ebooks and other digital resources, and to offer virtual programs, services, activities, and events on our social media channels and other platforms. As we learn from the initial branch reopenings, we will gradually open other locations and expand services. Again, I want to reinforce that the health and safety of our customers and our staff are our top priorities, and we are undertaking this process slowly and with the utmost caution.
We realize that there are many questions and issues that still need to be addressed, and we will share more details and updates with you as soon as we have them. Until then, we look forward to seeing you again as we face—and rebuild—this new world together.
Take good care, and thank you for being part of the Queens Public Library community.
Dennis M. Walcott
President and CEO, Queens Public Library
Update: March 15, 2020, 5:00PM
To the Queens Public Library Community,
Starting Monday, March 16 and until further notice, Queens Public Library will be closed to the public in order to help slow the spread of COVID-19 and protect the health and safety of our staff and the public we serve.
To ensure you can continue to learn and grow with the library, we are expanding our collections of digital materials, which are always available, including thousands of free eBooks, audiobooks, eMagazines, songs, movies, and videos.
We ask that you keep the items you have checked out until we reopen or announce other options. Note that all due dates will be automatically extended and late fees will be suspended during the closure.
Please keep checking the QPL website and social media channels for new content as well as for updates about our plans to reopen.
We know how much our communities depend on our libraries and thank you for your understanding during this challenging time.
Dennis M. Walcott, President and CEO, Queens Public Library
March 12, 2020
Queens Public Library is suspending all programs, events, classes, community room requests, and workshops from Friday, March 13 through at least the end of the month.
We, along with the Brooklyn and New York public libraries, are taking this step to limit the number of public gatherings throughout our respective systems in an effort to help the City slow the spread of the coronavirus.
QPL continues to carefully monitor the rapidly evolving information and guidance about COVID-19 from the New York City Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to help you, your families, and our staff stay informed and healthy, and to respond to the situation as needed.
To limit the spread of the coronavirus, we have
- Significantly increased the frequency of cleaning and disinfecting surfaces like door handles and knobs, tabletops, counters, check-out and check-in machines, elevator buttons, and computer equipment at all of our locations.
- Stepped up the number of times we service our public restrooms each day.
- Removed all toys from the children’s areas in our libraries.
- Encouraged our customers, staff, and the public to wash their hands properly, get the flu vaccine, cover coughs and sneezes, avoid touching their faces, stay at home if they feel sick, and contact their medical provider if they have traveled to certain countries.
We also are purchasing substantially more eBooks, audiobooks, and streaming films. If you would prefer not to visit our locations in person at this challenging time, you can reach one of our librarians over the phone or online through our Ask-a-Librarian service.
If you do visit, we ask that you consider practicing “social distancing” and limiting contact with others by:
- avoiding handshakes
- using our check-out machines
- giving yourself ample space in our computer and seating areas
- sharing your library card number verbally instead of providing your physical card.
There is a great deal of false information on social media and certain online news sites about how COVID-19 is transmitted and who has been affected. Below are reliable sources of the most up-to-date information about the coronavirus and how to stay safe during this difficult time.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
The federal agency, part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, provides updates about the government’s response, answers to frequently asked questions, and resources and guidance for employers, schools, households, and travelers.
New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene
The mayoral agency is monitoring the City’s response to the outbreak and updating the public about symptoms, prevention, and the number of cases in the five boroughs.
New York State Department of Health
The state agency is monitoring the spread of the disease across the state of New York and its response to the outbreak.
World Health Organization
The United Nations agency monitors public health around the world and educates people how to achieve good health.
Thank you for your understanding and cooperation as the situation with COVID-19 unfolds. Please visit this page for updates. We are more committed now than ever to serving our communities and the people of Queens and beyond, no matter who you are or where you are from.