NYC public libraries reopen in the Bronx, Manhattan and Staten Island

It’s a bookworm bonanza!

Big Apple public libraries are beginning to fully reopen for the first time since the pandemic — in another sign of the city’s long-awaited revival.

The New York Public Library opened all available branch locations across the Bronx, Manhattan and Staten Island on Tuesday, including the renowned Rose Main Reading Room at the system’s headquarters at 42nd Street and Fifth Avenue.

Everyone from students and academics to aspiring novelists lined up at the main branch to mark the occasion Tuesday morning.

“It’s been a long time coming,” said Gary Krenz, 63. “This is one of the best places in the city, and to finally be back in here is fantastic.”

Noah Strote, a professor, said he planned to become a fixture in the reading room this summer.

Librarian with archival material on a cart.
Branches in the Bronx, Manhattan and Staten Island all are open again.
Robert Miller
Elodie Solberstein, doing research for a book.
Pace University professor Elodie Solberstein was at the library doing research for a book.
Robert Miller

“I’m thrilled to be back just because this was my space to not only read books but also do my best thinking,” he said. “So, I’m just thrilled to be back in this space.”

Writer Farah Abdessamad said she was excited to enter the iconic chamber for the first time Tuesday.

“You know, one thing I really missed during the pandemic was just being able to, you know, work in this kind of place,” she said. “So that’s pretty amazing.”

Masks will still be required for readers in the public libraries.
Masks will still be required for readers in the public libraries.
Robert Miller
The Public Library's reading room opened today to the public, after closing due to COVID.
The NYC libraries shut down last March due to COVID-19 concerns.
Robert Miller
A man sleeps inside the New York Public Library reading room.
Live events at the libraries will also be coming back soon.
Robert Miller

New York City’s other public library systems — the Brooklyn Public Library and Queens Public Library — are expected to be almost fully operational in the coming weeks with normal in-person services returning, officials said.

Other in-person programs and classes across all three systems will continue to expand over the coming months.

However, masks are still required at library branches until further notice.

NYPL President Anthony Marx speaks during opening ceremony of Stavros Niarchos Foundation Library.
NYPL president Anthony Marx speaks during the opening ceremony of the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Library.
Pacific Press/LightRocket via Ge

“We know how important public libraries are to New Yorkers and to the reawakening and recovery of our great city,” said New York Public Library president Anthony Marx in a statement about its reopening Monday.

Officials said live events — including outdoor summer offerings — will also resume in the coming weeks.

Libraries were forced to close their doors in March 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Public Library's reading room opened today to the public, after closing due to COVID.
The Brooklyn Public Library and Queens Public Library should both be fully open to the public within the next couple of weeks.
Robert Miller

A total of 14 branches will remain shuttered for repairs while another five are still being used as vaccination centers.

Metro | New York Post

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