[Updates below] New York City’s three library systems—The New York Public Library (NYPL), Brooklyn Public Library (BPL), and Queens Public Library (QPL)—shut down on March 14th, one of the many institutions to close their doors as the pandemic hit, and just before the city was put under stay-at-home orders. With the city now in Phase 2 of reopening, and hitting Phase 3 in July (barring any spike in cases), the libraries plan to reopen 22 branches across the five boroughs for grab-and-go service.

This limited reopening will begin on Monday, July 13th and is the "first step in a careful, phased approach to reinstituting service at the city’s physical libraries," a press released stated. In this first step of their reopening, New Yorkers will be able to "access a small area of the open branches to pick up and return checkouts placed online or on the phone (the process will be contactless)."

They have also issued safety protocols:

  • Patrons must wear masks (this is mandatory, as per State guidelines)
  • ...must physically distance from staff and other patrons
  • ...must respect capacity limits inside the open locations 
  • ...must leave the libraries as soon as their pickups or returns are complete; at this stage, there will be no browsing, in-person reference, or computer use
  • All returned items will be quarantined for 72 hours before being recirculated, as per guidelines from public health experts

Though the physical libraries shut down in March, they allowed access to programming, including e-books, their research database, classes, and other digital offerings created to help New Yorkers isolating at home, like the Brooklyn Public Library's virtual storytime. This will all remain, as there will be no in-person programming in this phase of their reopening. You'll also be able to keep listening to those sweet sounds of the city, a gift from the NYPL to New Yorkers in isolation.

Additionally, their library fines remain on pause, and "will not accrue on items checked out before temporary closure or during this first phase of reopening."

Brooklyn Public Library's central branch at Grand Army Plaza

Brooklyn Public Library's Central Branch

Brooklyn Public Library's Central Branch
Paul O / Flickr

For more details, visit the websites of the Brooklyn Public LibraryNew York Public Library, and Queens Public Library. Here are the branches opening on July 13th for limited service:

Brooklyn Public Library

Hours will be 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday,  and 1 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Tuesday and Thursday

The New York Public Library (Bronx, Manhattan, and Staten Island)


*Please note that research libraries, including the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building on Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street, will remain temporarily closed during this first phase of reopening, but will offer expanded scan-and-deliver service for general research collections. Patrons will be able to request scans of material via the Shared Collections Catalog.


Staten Island

Hours for most branches will be 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday; 12 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Wednesday; and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday. The only exception is the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Library, which will be open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday to Friday, and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday 

Queens Public Library

Hours 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)

UPDATE: On August 31st, the NYPL announced 20 additional neighborhood branches for limited, grab-and-go service, starting on September 8th. They are listed below:

The Bronx


Staten Island: 

For a full list of open branches visit www.nypl.org/locations. The hours for these branches will be 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday; 12 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Wednesday; and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday.