NYC Public Libraries to Open All Remaining Available Locations, Begin a Return to Pre-Pandemic Service in July

The City’s three library systems will open all of their remaining available branch locations for unlimited browsing and general library use, including open seating, in July 

They will also begin gradually restoring indoor public programs and classes as they ramp up to pre-pandemic library service; ongoing services, such as virtual and outdoor programs, will continue


Media Contacts:

Angela Montefinise, New York Public Library,

Fritzi Bodenheimer, Brooklyn Public Library,

Elisabeth de Bourbon, Queens Public Library,

UPDATE, JULY 13, 2021: The five New York Public Library branches that were in use by the City as Learning Labs or COVID testing sites through June 30 now have official opening dates: Riverdale, St. Agnes, and Dongan Hills will open on Monday, July 26. Mariners Harbor will open on Monday, August 2. Hamilton Grange will open Monday, August 9.

JUNE 24, 2021—The City’s three public library systems—The New York Public Library, Brooklyn Public Library and Queens Public Library—will open all of their remaining available branch locations and begin introducing a model of service in July that brings them closer to pre-pandemic services.

Following a temporary closure of all of their physical locations last year to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, the three public library systems have been reinstituting in-person services in phases, beginning with the reopening of a portion of locations for grab-and-go service in July 2020, followed by the gradual expansion of service at additional locations. They then expanded and maintained services as circumstances allowed while maintaining the robust virtual resources offered throughout the pandemic.

Throughout the month of July 2021,  the three public library systems will restore most of their pre-pandemic services, including:

  • Opening all remaining locations (except for those under construction, in need of repairs, or in use by New York City as COVID-19 testing centers or vaccination sites, among other temporary uses)

  • Allowing unlimited, untimed browsing

  • Allowing general library use, including—for the first time since March of 2020—open, untimed seating

  • Returning to pre-pandemic computer use, including laptop loan

  • Reinstating or expanding bookmobile service

  • Beginning to offer indoor public programs and classes, as feasible (it will likely take weeks or months to return programming to full capacity). Some locations are offering outdoor programs during the summer. 

  • Expanding public service hours, as feasible

Each system will implement these changes on a slightly different timeline depending on staff capacity, but by the end of July all three systems will be well on their way to a return to pre-pandemic service.

It is important to note that each system will continue to waive overdue fines through at least September 2021, and mandate certain safety protocols. 

Through the pandemic, Brooklyn Public Library continued to show up for our patrons online, outdoors, and in the lobbies of our branches," said Linda E. Johnson, President and CEO of Brooklyn Public Library. "Now, patrons can use computers, browse our shelves, and linger at their local library as long as they like. This is a significant milestone in our city's recovery. Once again, public libraries, the most democratic spaces in our society, will be filled with people reading and connecting with one another."

“We know how important public libraries are to New Yorkers and to the reawakening and recovery of our great city,” said NYPL President Anthony W. Marx. “As we move into our hopeful next chapter, we need libraries to be strong, and doing everything possible to support our communities, including and especially the most vulnerable. We, like all New Yorkers, have been eagerly moving toward the moment we can more fully restore a familiar, near pre-pandemic service model throughout the system, and are so excited that—thanks to the vaccination progress —that moment is now. We must remain vigilant and patient, with safety remaining our priority. But to now be able to open all of our available locations, and to welcome all New Yorkers back to think, learn, grow, and unlock doors of opportunity—this a big moment for our City. We look forward to seeing everyone here.”

“We have made many strides since COVID-19 forced the temporary closure of our buildings to the public 15 months ago, and as circumstances around infections shifted during that period, so did we, putting the health and safety of our customers and staff above all else,” said QPL President and CEO Dennis M. Walcott. “In light of the progress we -- as a community, as a city, as a state -- have worked so hard to achieve, we can now finally lift many of our restrictions for staff and the public and introduce a model of service that brings us closer to pre-pandemic levels. I have been hearing from so many people that they cannot wait to return to our libraries and use them as they had in the past. They are yearning to return to places that welcome, inspire and provide vital opportunities to everyone, no matter their background or circumstances, and we look forward to continuing to be here for them.

Specifics for each system are below. For the most updated information and information on each system’s robust virtual services, visit the library websites at,, and

Brooklyn Public Library 

  • Beginning on June 28, the Brooklyn Public Library will expand services at an additional 14 branches including access to seating.

  • As of June 28, patrons can now browse the collections on the first floor, access computers and printing, sign up for library cards, pick up holds and return materials at all branches in the borough which are not under construction or being used by the city. Indoor seating will return to all these locations between June 28 and July 2.

  • By July 17, patrons can access all building floors for browsing and seating, including the new Business and Career Center at Central Library. Patrons will no longer be limited to the first floor and hours are expanding at all BPL locations. The new hours of service will be: Monday, Wednesday, Friday: 10 am - 6 pm; Tuesday: 1–8 pm; Thursday: 10 am – 8 pm; Saturday: 10 am – 5 pm.

  • BPL will continue to offer outdoor programs during warm weather.

  • The virtual library remains in place.

  • Masks remain mandatory at all BPL locations.

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

  • All available locations will be open on Tuesday, July 6 (ten branches will be unavailable because they are under construction or need repairs. Those include. Hunts Point, Melrose, and Mott Haven in the Bronx; Fort Washington, Grand Central, Hamilton Fish, Jefferson Market, and Terence Cardinal Cooke–Cathedral in Manhattan; and Port Richmond and Charleston in Staten Island. An additional five branches are currently in use by the city and will open as soon as possible in July. Those include Riverdale, Mariners Harbor, St. Agnes, Dongan Hills, and Hamilton Grange)

  • All locations will offer unlimited browsing, desktop computer use, laptop loan, and general library use, including open seating.

  • In-person public programs and classes will begin being reinstituted in July. It may take several weeks and months to return to a full slate of indoor programs and classes.Outdoor programs are being planned throughout July. 

  • All research centers are currently open by appointment only; as of July 6, while appointments will still be required for most collections use (as they were pre-pandemic), service will be expanded to permit some walk-in visitors. For example, those who want to engage in quiet study, thought, computer use, and so on will be able to access public reading rooms at the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building on 42nd Street and Fifth Avenue, including the iconic Rose Main Reading Room. Those looking to just view the iconic room must enter as part of an NYPL-led tour. Watch for updated information on what each research center requires and offers; it will be updated in the coming weeks. 

  • The rooftop space at the newly-transformed Stavros Niarchos Foundation Library (SNFL) at 40th Street and Fifth Avenue will open. The renovated central circulating branch, which officially opened on June 1, will now have nearly all eight floors open for near pre-pandemic service (the exception is the Pasculano Learning Center, which will open in September). There are strict capacities on the roof space, so it will be first come, first served.

  • Pre-pandemic hours are expected to return on Monday, July 19 (with some slight alterations considering current usage patterns); patrons should check before visiting for the most up-to-date hours.

  • Masks remain mandatory at all NYPL locations.

Queens Public Library

Starting Tuesday, July 6:

  • COVID-related capacity and browsing limits and distancing requirements lifted

  • Unlimited browsing and customer seating available at all open locations

  • Computer time limit returns to 60 minutes

  • Masks will be optional for staff and customers who are fully vaccinated and required for individuals who are not fully vaccinated.

Starting Monday, July 12:

  • All available locations will be open to the public. Locations that will be unavailable to reopen on that date include Court Square, Flushing, Glendale, Ozone Park, Pomonok, Queens Village, Queensbridge Tech Lab, South Jamaica, Steinway, and Woodhaven.

  • Public hours will be extended at each available location. For updates visit:

Virtual programs and resources will continue to be offered at QPL, and planning for indoor public programs and classes is underway.


About Brooklyn Public Library

Brooklyn Public Library is one of the nation’s largest library systems and among New York City’s most democratic institutions. As a leader in developing modern 21st century libraries, we provide resources to support personal advancement, foster civic literacy, and strengthen the fabric of community among the more than 2.6 million individuals who call Brooklyn home. We provide nearly 65,000 free programs a year with writers, thinkers, artists, and educators—from around the corner and around the world. And we give patrons millions of opportunities to enjoy one of life’s greatest satisfactions: the joy of a good book.

About The New York Public Library

For 125 years, The New York Public Library has been a free provider of education and information for the people of New York and beyond. With 92 locations—including research and branch libraries—throughout the Bronx, Manhattan, and Staten Island, the Library offers free materials, computer access, classes, exhibitions, programming and more to everyone from toddlers to scholars, and has seen record numbers of attendance and circulation in recent years. The New York Public Library receives approximately 16 million visits through its doors annually and millions more around the globe who use its resources at To offer this wide array of free programming, The New York Public Library relies on both public and private funding. Learn more about how to support the Library at

About Queens Public Library

Queens Public Library is one of the largest and busiest public library systems in the United States, dedicated to serving the most ethnically and culturally diverse area in the country. An independent, non-profit organization founded in 1896, Queens Public Library offers free access to a collection of more than 5 million books and other materials in multiple languages, technology and digital resources, and more than 87,500 educational, cultural, and civic programs a year. It consists of 66 locations, including branch libraries, a Central Library, seven adult learning centers, a technology lab, two universal pre-kindergartens, and two teen centers.