July 27, 2020 By Allie Griffin
The Queens Public Library (QPL) will reopen a second batch of branches in August after reopening a handful of sites earlier this month.
The library system will reopen eight additional locations for “to-go” service on Aug. 10, bringing the total number of open branches to 15. The first seven were reopened for “to-go” service on July 13 after a four-month-long closure.
QPL will reopen its Whitestone, Astoria, Cambria Heights, Jackson Heights, Queensboro Hill, Rego Park, Ridgewood and South Ozone Park branches for pick-ups and returns starting Monday, Aug. 10 at 10 a.m.
The branches will be open with “to-go” service six days a week with a mask requirement in place for both visitors and staff.
Under the “to-go” model, residents can request items online, through the QPL app or by phone and pick them up in a designated area of each branch building. They can return materials in the exterior return machines.
Branch staff will set aside and quarantine all returned items for 96 hours before they are put back into circulation. Each library branch will undergo extensive cleaning as well.
Library visitors are currently not permitted to browse shelves or use public computers inside branch buildings. Public programming and events remain cancelled amid the pandemic.
The seven branches that have already reopened under the “to-go” model have welcomed more than 3,200 people since July 13. Library users have checked out 8,500 items and returned 28,000 books and other materials.
“These numbers, along with very positive feedback from our staff and customers, indicate a strong demand for our resources,” QPL President and CEO Dennis Walcott said. “More importantly, we have heard from many people who have said they feel safe and protected in our branches, whether they are working in or visiting them.”
The library system shut all of its 66 branches on March 16 to stop the spread of COVID-19.
QPL plans to reopen more branches on a gradual basis.